Get Real: Working From Home Does Not Destroy Productivity

by Evil HR Lady on February 26, 2013

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.”

Oh really? Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home? I’d like to see the statistics behind that. This is a memo from Yahoo HR Head, HR head Jackie Reses. Rest assured, though, HR doesn’t have this kind of power. This must come from the top, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

To keep reading, click here: Get Real: Working From Home Does Not Destroy Productivity

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Doug D February 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm

To be fair, this does depend on the type of work and the people involved. Best mix *I’ve* found is part time on-site, for high-value meetings and realtime collaboration, and part time off-site, for “deep dives” into solo tasks. I am quite sure that different mixes would be optimal for different teams.

I do know there are plenty of teams that have no trouble collaborating at a distance, but I also know from personal experience that not *every* team can do that without trouble.

I’ve also heard speculation that this is, frankly, an example of a different thing you’ve spoken out against in the past — crafting general policies instead of individually dealing with specific troublemakers. The speculation was that there’s a subset of remote workers at Yahoo who aren’t acting in good faith and being productive, and this more a measure to deal with those than something of general benefit. (If that’s the case, well, boo.)

In any case, the best sign will be if this proves to be a temporary measure. Reign folks in for a start, and then restore permission for remote work for at least some people at least some of the time. Let’s keep an eye on that.

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Tanya February 26, 2013 at 5:33 pm

I want to disclaimer myself first with “I did not do my research”, but wasn’t it Yahoo’s ‘family-friendliness’ that got them on the list a while back for one of the best places to work? If she is a good manager she should be able to see what needs to be done, the teams or individuals that would be best for each task, give them guidelines and deadlines and regular check-up intervals. If certain people are not meeting expectation, then she can set stricter perameters to help get the job done. I agree that perhaps she is insecure about being a manager and managing her people when she cannot SEE them right in front of her at all times. Or maybe she is a micro-manager and needs her people in office at all times so that she can look over their shoulders.

Again, I have not done my research, but if she is still pregnant, will she not find that she herself would benefit from a ‘family-friendly’ atmosphere? There may be days after baby is born that she, herself, may wish to work from home. Will she follow her new rule of being in the office all day, no exceptions?

Yahoo has a reputation of being an innovative, fresh, people-friendly, work-life balanced company. I’m sure that they have many, many staff who started there, and stayed, because of this. And I bet at LEAST 80% do their jobs at top performance! She may find that she loses many of her good, loyal staff to Facebook or something!

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class factotum February 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm

I would be crying in gratitude if I could work from home occasionally. Not just because I wouldn’t waste 90 minutes commuting and another 30 showering and putting on Outside the House clothes, but also because I could actually concentrate and get some work done rather than wondering when on earth the people in the cubicles around me were going to stop eating apples, potato chips, and carrot sticks.

If you’re not going to let me have an office with a door (the new status symbol), then let me work from home so I can have some peace and quiet.

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class factotum February 26, 2013 at 10:05 pm

And now it’s popcorn.

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Anonymous February 26, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I don’t believe her pregnancy is relevant to this discussion (by the way, her baby was born and she’s back at work). I’m amazed at how many women on the Internet were freaking out because she’s a woman and “must understand.” Men who are CEOs also have families and try to be good husbands and fathers. It’s just understood that they don’t serve as primary caregivers. I bet it’s the same for Ms. Mayer. It’s just not relevant to the discussion. Nowhere did I see her say that she’s going to deliberately make life miserable for people with children. She even allows telework when it’s absolutely needed-cable guy, sick kid, etc. She just doesn’t want it to be a full time thing, where people are telecommuting every day.

That said, I think this is a temporary policy. I don’t think it’ll last forever.

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Tanya February 27, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I’m sorry, I only brought up her pregnancy/baby because after baby is born there are reasons that a mother needs to be home from time to time ( I am in Canada where we get a full year mat. leave, btw), and perhaps this would allow her to empathise with her staff. No where does the article, nor did I say, that she was going to make parents miserable by intent.

I know how they must feel to get these perks taken away. I once worked for a company where we had flexibility and our boss made us all aware that family came first. For a mom (or for all staff) it was a great place to work. We each had X# of hours to fill each week and X# had to be spent in the office. But, if a kid was sick, the cable guy was coming, etc. or even if it was a ‘creative’ day, or even a ‘monotonous paperwork’ day, we were set up to work from home. It was on a secured network and we had a method to track our hours. We were given deadlines and had to report in at certain intervals. It was WONDERFUl! Truth be told though, there were times that I was rather at the office where I was uninterupted by kids…

When that manager moved away and a new one took over, she did NOT support the whole ‘flexibility’ thing whatsoever. There were times I was told to bring my pukey kid to work, OR ELSE! (okay so bring a kid to work is considered flexibility but who wants to bring a kid to work with a bucket:( ). On top of losing our flexibility, we also had to work extra hours so the whole situation ended up completely opposite of what we all once had. Needless to say, this woman lost most of her staff and the creative, relaxed, and VERY productive enviroment became nothing but stressful! We were a much smaller company, but Yahoo could face the same fate if the staff ends up feeling the same way as we did.

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Elizabeth West February 26, 2013 at 10:55 pm

I get to do this. I’m grateful my company allows it, and my team is both remote and travels a lot, so it’s not vital I be there every day. I’m especially grateful because it snowed last night, and I hate driving in it. I’ve done butt-in-chair jobs where people weren’t any more productive in the cube. You should see the time-wasting tactics in some of the places I’ve worked. It really depends on the employees: if they can get through their assignments in their cubes, they can do it from home. Companies should deal with miscreants on an individual basis, unless abuse is widespread. Really, disciplining the whole class because one kid threw an eraser doesn’t make them put peer pressure on the bad kid; it just makes them hate the teacher.

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Mihai Calin February 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I’m so surprised with the decision that I still can’t believe it. In a world where you consider the possibility to commute one of the best perks ever, Yahoo!’s new CEO comes and takes it away just like that. But coming from somebody that was back to work a week after she gave birth, it should not be such a huge surprise.
I’m convinced that Yahoo! is going to lose a lot of great people following this decision. There are plenty of other great companies out there ready to shelter all the creative people who need a quiet and familiar environment for maximum productivity and creativity.

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