There is growing anger at the decision made by new
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban working from home.
The ban kicks in from June 1st this year
and is part of Mayer’s drive to make Yahoo more efficient and innovative. Mayer
had this to say: “[We aim] To be one Yahoo!,
and that starts being physically together…To become the absolute best place to
work, communication and collaboration will be important. 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."
At the UK IT Association (UKITA) we don’t disagree with this in
principal. A lot of the best ideas do start with idle chatter and at chance
meetings. Yet with todays’ digital IT capabilities there is no reason for
people to be in the same building to have these chance conversations. Team
meetings are important, but having the team meet once a month is environmentally
responsible and prevents people from becoming stale, re-hashing the same
conversations day in, day out.
Mayer is swimming against the current of the
emerging work patterns of UK knowledge workers. The majority now work from home
at least part of their working week, with most believing this allows them to be
more productive and prevents them becoming fatigued by commuting daily and
allowing workers with families to fulfil their work commitments around their
The main anger comes from workers with families who
don’t have the luxury of having a nursery built into their office, work that
Mayer has recently had completed at the Yahoo headquarters.
This has led to one employee commenting on Kara
Swishers’ blog, All Things D“I wonder what
would happen if my wife brought our kids and nanny to work and set ’em up in
the cube next door?”
It is doubtful that Marissa Mayer would be overly impressed.