Saturday, February 23, 2013

Yahoo's new 'no-work-from-home' policy angers employees, who leak the internal memo

Upon taking the CEO position at Yahoo, Marissa Mayer instituted a lot of changes which made the company more Google-like. Many were popular. The one she instituted on Friday was not.

The new rule rolled out Friday by CEO Marissa Mayer, and communicated by HR head Jackie Reses, requires that Yahoo employees who work remotely relocate to company facilities. It goes further than just those, such as customer service representatives, who may have worked from home all the time. It also negates any perks such as working from home one or two days a week.

Those who can't go with the flow will be forced to leave, it's assumed. The changes begin in June, according to the Yahoo memo. According to one manager who spoke anonymously, there will be little flexibility on the issue.

It even applies to those who might want to work from home for one day because an electrician, cable guy, or other emergency repair might need to be made. Reses wrote, "... for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration."

The anger from those employees who will be impacted was strong on Friday. Many felt that they were initially hired with the assurance that working from home and flexible hours would be welcomed. To be clear, in many -- if not most -- tech companies, it is.

Some companies, knowing that the lack of a commute may mean an hour or more of additional work in each direction, welcome working from home. Other companies, in fact, look upon working from home as a requirement, on top of the hours that are spent at the office. Yahoo's memo, though, goes against the former idea, saying that “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home."

One employee wrote that even if a work-from-home arrangement had been negotiated earlier, and even if it was part of the package, the new policy takes precedence.
Even if that was what was previously agreed to with managers and HR, or was a part of the package to take a position, tough. It’s outrageous and a morale killer.
There is some taking advantage of Yahoo's move, or at least attempting to, and we'd expect the moves to continue. WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg wrote:
For anyone who enjoys working from wherever they like in the world, and is interested in WordPress, Automattic is 100% committed to being distributed. 130 of our 150 people are outside of San Francisco.
A different tech exec said:
Our engineers would not put up with that. So, we’d never focus on it.
Some believe the move is a cost-cutting one that will force some to resign. It's unclear, and it's also unclear how engineers, many of whom -- as the exec said above -- expect flexible hours and working situations in a Silicon Valley company, will react.

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The full Yahoo memo is below.  It was leaked by multiple angry Yahoos, as the company likes to call them.


Over the past few months, we have introduced a number of great benefits and tools to make us more productive, efficient and fun. With the introduction of initiatives like FYI, Goals and PB&J, we want everyone to participate in our culture and contribute to the positive momentum. From Sunnyvale to Santa Monica, Bangalore to Beijing — I think we can all feel the energy and buzz in our offices.

To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.

Beginning in June, we’re asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices. If this impacts you, your management has already been in touch with next steps. And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration. Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.

Thanks to all of you, we’ve already made remarkable progress as a company — and the best is yet to come.


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