Reporting from the Bunker of Dark Elven Magic

I’m guessing that Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, had some idea of the wrath that she would incur by last week’s controversial decision to insist that remote workers move back in to the office. Headlines like Back To the Stone Age? New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Bans Working From Home and Mommy Bloggers Are Tearing Apart Marissa Mayer might mean she now requires a cup of Horlicks before bed time – but then she was brought in to make tough decisions.

Apparently a lot of the remote workers Yahoo had on their books were no longer productive and as Business Insider explainsa lot of people hid. There were all these employees [working remotely] and nobody knew they were still at Yahoo.“. It sounds like Yahoo were doing a lousy job of managing their workforce, both in the office and out. They clearly need to scale down and make people redundant, so this “is a layoff that’s not a layoff.

I hope ultimately the Yahoo situation won’t put people off trying to become remote workers, or deter employers from employing remote workers. As I’ve said many times on this blog (and else where), it doesn’t work for everyone. The decision needs to one made by employer and employee together. Some people just can’t get themselves motivated without a little encouragement (i.e. they need to be sitting in an open-plan office where management can keep an beady eye on them). Also remote workers need real support to fulfill their potential, they need to be kept in the communication loop and that requires effort. Remote working wasn’t working at Yahoo because people messed up, not because remote working doesn’t work.

Out of all the posts and articles Ive read about the Yahoo situation Tim Sniffen’s An Open Letter to Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer is by far my favourite. Tim, who claims to have been a Yahoo junior server administrator for eleven years, explains to Ms. Mayer that “you do not want me in your office.”

The reasons why are clear…

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Tim ends with some PSs…

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He sounds like the sort of employee I really wouldn’t want to lose if I was Marissa Mayer. Humour may be the tool they have in fighting their current financial crisis.


The End of Remote Workers for Yahoo

Last Friday Marissa Mayer, who was appointed President and CEO of Yahoo in July 2012, told remote employees that they needed to be working in an office by June this year. The pronouncement has sparked a lot of discussion on and off Twitter. So have Yahoo made the right decision? I’ve created a Storify with related tweets.

  1. “Physically Together”: Here’s the Internal Yahoo No-Work-From-Home Memo — Which Extends Beyond Remote Workers
  2. Some people feel that in these difficult times F2F working is what we need…
  3. As a lifetime remote-office worker, even I agree it’s probably the right thing for Yahoo to do now. Collab tools don’t replace f2f time.
  4. Yahoo to employees: “work in an office or quit”, Well done, we need more face-to-face interaction to be #Agile!
  5. People, I know it sucks for 500 who can’t WFH but @marissamayer trying to ensure other 12k Yahoo employees still have an office to come to
  6. What do you think of Yahoo’s decision? Bold moves are what the company needs so this might be part of a culture shift
  7. Other people believe it is a step backwards…
  8. disappointed Marissa Mayer is eliminating remote worker options at $YHOO…
  9. Most TNW folks work outside an office. Most of us have never even met. This Yahoo policy feels decrepit. We’ll see.
  10. Will this be a trend? What about family-friendly policies? “@Slate: Marissa Mayer bans working from home:
  11. Memo demands @Yahoo employees can’t work from home. Needless to say, this is an idiotic move.…
  12. Ridiculous policy, especially for a tech co.:Yahoo Eliminates Work-From-Home Option, Sparks Intense Debate on Twitter…
  13. Seems #oldschool and a step back – #Yahoo Eliminates Work-From-Home Option, Sparks Intense Debate on Twitter
  14. Has Marissa Mayer actually SEEN what the avg. Silicon Valley worker LOOKS like?!?! Please, keep them at home!…
  15. I am eager to see if / how Yahoo responds to the outcry about their alleged new Zero-remote worker policy. Very curious if true.
  16. Yahoo Eliminates Work-From-Home Option, Sparks Intense Debate on Twitter
  17. Interesting take on remote working by Yahoo – not in line with current trends >…
  18. What do you think?