Teleworking in the Private Sector

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Kim Ellison 5 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #176705

    Henry Brown

    Catching alot of blog space this past weekend (23-25 Feb)…

    Will be very interesting to see how this edict from Yahoo! CEO plays out…

    IMO would be interesting to perhaps get some feedback(other than the standard catch phrases) from Yahoo as to why? …

    from ITwire:

    The news that Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer has initiated a no teleworking policy at the legendary dot com company has done more than just ruffle a few feathers among working mothers. It has also sent ripples of alarm through the corporate big end of town among the telecommunications community.


    Yahoo’s head of human resources Jackie Reses sent out a memo on Friday telling remote staff they must be working in the office by June and if they had an issue they could quit.


    Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s New ‘No Telecommuting’ Policy Is A Giant Step Backwards For Working Parents

  • #176724

    Kim Ellison

    As someone who has spent time in Silicon Valley, and has had a career in private industry, I’ve read the responses to the leaked Yahoo memo with interest both here and on other internet venues. Most of the responses have focused on the telework issue. I doubt this is the core issue in the decision this CEO has made. Marissa Mayer is a fairly new CEO and her actions seem to indicate she is initiating a company wide, in-depth, employee review, apparently from top to bottom for strategic reasons. I would suspect that she and her core team are gathering information to decide who is “on the team” and who isn’t. Yahoo stock has risen over the last year. Even with market improvement, Mayer may be deciding to take the company in a different direction or improve performance. If so, she will need to know what resources she currently has on the team. Knowing who and what talents are available is very hard to do if you aren’t seeing and evaluating people in real time. I would also suspect that this evaluation is going to happen very rapidly. The sad part is that the probability is fairly high that some Yahoo employees will lose their jobs as functions are streamlined. A decision to end telework at Yahoo and bring hundreds of employees back on site is about a fundamental change in company strategy, not how and where employees deliver work. It would not surprise me that once the changes are made, telework reappears as an option for Yahoo employees.

  • #176722

    Henry Brown


    Hope you are right!

  • #176720

    Karen L. Jones

    While I agree with many of your assumptions about the purpose of Ms. Mayer’s evaluation, I disagree with your statement regarding being able to know who and what talents are available if you aren’t “seeing” the people. If I am expected to produce a certain number of widgets in X time with a predesignated quality standard, and I do that, why should my boss have to “see me do it in real time” in order to evaluate my performance?

    It is the culture of the organization that determines its innovation, creativity, and cohesion, not the physical location of the employees. I have worked on multi-national project teams that were extremely creative because we were encouraged to email, phone, video conference/skype, chat at any time. We had regular, virtual team status meetings, and everyone was held accountable for their portion of the project. I have worked full time from home on contracts (which, for some reason is OK) and then offered a full-time job by that same company and told I would no longer be able to telework because I would then be an “employee.” No question of my competence, desire, etc., just the rules…

    If Yahoo’s overall purpose is to re-evaluate their corporate culture, strategy, and vision, then arbitrarily eliminating telework simply creates a new environment, as those who prefer to telework will leave the company, and they will be left with those who either 1) are Yahooligans, 2) don’t like telework, 3) don’t like to telework, or 4) simply need to keep their job in this bad economy.

  • #176718

    Henry Brown

    IMO an interesting “news story” on PBS last night (feb 27) where this issue was debated rather professionally…

  • #176716

    Henry Brown

    finally a response from Yahoo:


    SUNNYVALE — Appearing to acknowledge the uproar over its recent move to order telecommuting workers back to the office, Yahoo (YHOO) issued a brief statement Tuesday to assert that it wasn’t offering a broad judgment on the practice of working from home.

    “This isn’t a broad industry view on working from home — this is about what is right for Yahoo right now,” said the statement from a Yahoo spokesperson.

    “We don’t discuss internal matters,” the statement added, and the spokesperson didn’t respond to further questions.

  • #176713

    Henry Brown

    Not sure about the correctness of the date on this study;
    Forbes Blogger posted a blog discussing this study on 9/19/2012 which was linked to a discussion on in discussing the Yahoo “No Telecommuniting Policy”


    Author(s): Nicholas Bloom, James Liang, John Roberts and Zhichun Jenny Ying

    February 22nd, 2013

    About 10% of US employees now regularly work from home (WFH), but there are concerns this can lead to “shirking from home.” We report the results of a WFH experiment at CTrip, a 16,000- employee, NASDAQ-listed Chinese travel agency. Call center employees who volunteered to WFH were randomly assigned to work from home or in the office for 9 months. Home working led to a 13% performance increase, of which about 9% was from working more minutes per shift (fewer breaks and sick-days) and 4% from more calls per minute (attributed to a quieter working environment). Home workers also reported improved work satisfaction and experienced less turnover, but their promotion rate conditional on performance fell. Due to the success of the experiment, CTrip rolled-out the option to WFH to the whole firm and allowed the experimental employees to re-select between the home or office. Interestingly, over half of them switched, which led to the gains from WFH almost doubling to 22%. This highlights the benefits of learning and selection effects when adopting modern management practices like WFH.

    Download PDF:

  • #176711

    Karen L. Jones


  • #176709

    David B. Grinberg

    I think Kim Ellison strikes the nail on the head — see her comments above. The Yahoo situation strikes me as an anomaly, especially for Silicon Valley of all places.
    I think most folks are reading too much into this by over-focusing on telework without considering Mayer’s other possible larger motivations: showing strong-arm tactics, auditing the workforce, possibly restructuring, and — of course, the obvious — obtaining a ton of free media to get her struggling brand back in the national dialogue.
    I predict that remote work will soon return to Yahoo, no doubt. I believe CEO Mayer is making a public statement not only to her employees, but to the rest of the high-tech world: there’s a new sheriff in town who is not afraid to shake things up — albeit temporarily.
    Let’s also not forget the gender angle: female CEOs are still an overwhelming minority of the high-tech industry in general, and Corporate America and boards in particular. Thus Mayer needs Yahoo staff, stockholders, the high-tech world, and the public to perceive her as being a strong presence.
    This may also be part of a workforce restructuring and re-evaluation at Yahoo — a workforce audit to further streamline operations and cut costs. However, if another one of Mayer’s goals is to draw global media attention to Yahoo and her management of the company thus far, then she has certainly succeeded.
    Prior to her arrival, Yahoo was not in the media spotlight compared to Google and other competitors — it was all Google, all the time. That’s certainly changed, for now at least.
    By obtaining this global press coverage, Mayer is putting the Yahoo name back in the news — which may boost brand recognition, site visitors, and perhaps even stock prices, etc.
    You know that saying, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

  • #176707

    Henry Brown

    Don’t know if it is directly related or not but ….

    Focusing on our future — some changes to our product line-up
    Posted March 1st, 2013 at 12:03 pm by Yahoo
    Filed in: Product News

    By Jay Rossiter, EVP, Platforms

    At Yahoo!, we’re focused on making your daily habits more inspiring and entertaining. This means that we’re constantly reviewing and iterating on our products and experiences. In some cases, it means updating our products like we’ve done recently with our new welcome to Yahoo!, Flickr for iPhone and iPod Touch and Yahoo! Mail.

    In other cases, after much thought and deliberation, we decide to shut down some products. Before making these decisions, we look at a variety of factors. The most critical question we ask is whether the experience is truly a daily habit that still resonates for all of you today.

    Ultimately, we’re making these changes in an effort to sharpen our focus. By continuing to hone in on our core products and experiences, we’ll be able to make our existing products the very best they can be.

    You can find more details below about how the closures we’re announcing today will work.

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