Working From Home: in light of Yahoo’s controversial decision

Working From Home: in light of Yahoo’s controversial decision

Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive of Yahoo, sparked up a flurry of online discussion last week when she announced to all of Yahoo’s employees that they all must work in Yahoo offices. In this post KennedyPearce discusses the pros and cons of employees working from home and how Marissa Mayer may have caused resentment amongst her employees…

In a memo, sent out to all Yahoo’s employees, Marissa Mayer wrote:

“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

The memo points out that even those who only work one or two days in the office will have to submit to the new regime and commute to the nearest Yahoo office.

But is Marissa right to do this? Or in this age of rapidly advancing technology should companies be more flexible and considerate to employee’s working hours?

A survey of firms by the Confederation of British Industry showed that the number offering at least some teleworking rose from 14% in 2006 to 46% in 2008. Figures predicted this year, with the rise in technology,  skills and access are set to have risen even higher. It is easy to see why many employers would opt for teleworking as there are clear benefits. You do away with long commutes that waste time, cause pollution and raise stress levels. Homeworkers often have more leeway to plan their lives better – picking up the children from school or caring for elderly relatives. In addition, studies show that teleworking can improve employee productivity and morale.

B.T argues that homeworkers save them an average of £6,000 a year each, are 20% more productive and take fewer sick days.

However Teleworking isn’t for all companies or all employees. One of the risks of teleworking is  that’s it could hinder the employee advancing or being promoted within the company. According to research by the London Business School and the University of California not “being seen in the office” may affect a person’s chances of promotion, result in a smaller pay rise than office-based peers and lower performance evaluations.

Also for employees where meeting clients is key, and interacting with co-workers is a big part of the job – teleworking is obviously not the most efficient way of working.

However if you are unsure about teleworking for your business, they key could be could be balance. On one hand teleworking improves employee morale; many employees appreciate not having to commute and the flexibility.  On the other hand you may require your employees in the office to interact with clients and co-workers. However your options for teleworking can be flexible, in fact the possibilities are endless.You could include a set number of days a week of teleworking. Then the rest of the week they could be in the office. Or perhaps to save travelling in rush hour you could allow employees to work at home until rush hour is over. Also there are  other means of flexible work hours which you could consider such as employees working more hours on certain days and fewer on others, in fixed or variable schedules. Don’t be afraid to run schedules on a trial basis to see what works and what doesn’t.

In KennedyPearce’s experience you must make sure you programs are structured to meet business objectives while recognising individual needs. This way you can strive enjoy the best of both worlds – business productivity and employee satisfaction.

If you have anything you’d like to add on the subject of teleworking, feel free to leave us a comment below:

Marissa Mayer photo Courtesy of


Commuters’ photo Courtesy of  Flicker/j.o.h.n. walker

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