Marissa Mayer is making headlines again. Rather than championing the cause of working mothers like herself, the CEO of Yahoo! has made life that much harder for her own employees trying to strike a balance between home and work.
According to an article in the Huffington Post, Yahoo! released a memo that essentially discouraging remote working for its employees.
"Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home," said the memo from HR director Jackie Rees, whose orders presumably came straight from the top. "We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together."
Not necessarily. Back in the pre-internet days, when women 'working from home' meant starching their husbands' shirts, what happened in the office had to stay in the office. Today we have gadgets galore and the means to get the work done, in many cases, without the need to be physically present. Sure, team and client meetings are crucial. But they don't happen every day, and in many cases productivity is stalled by distractions that may not occur when the employee works in a virtual bubble.
Also back in the pre-internet days, the working week was confined to neat hours, spent punching in and punching out. Not so today. Is it realistic or fair to deny remote working when the boundaries are blurred between work and life, and there are no longer enough hours in a day to have a reasonably functional or sacred family life?
As the article states, flexibility in working accommodations have been proven to boost morale, productivity and mental health. Surely someone ought to let Mayer in on that little secret... So much for progressive female. By taking the most scant maternity leave, she created a very 'macho' precedent for fellow female executives. Her stance on remote working is turning her into a dinosaur. She may be a mother; she may be working, yet Mayer seems out of touch with the modern family and its needs.
Heaven forbid the child of an employee falls sick suddenly. Heaven forbid a personal emergency should arise for any of its staff. Under Mayer's outmoded and inflexible vision, Yahoo! risks becoming a place many parents won't want to work. Part of being valued depends on being trusted to get your work done. It depends on being treated like a grown up who has the sense and discretion to decide where and how it gets done. (We at YMC wouldn't have it any other way!)
Is remote working a help or a hindrance to business today?