Let’s look at this decision a different way. According to one ex-“Yahoo” (the way Yahoo employees describe themselves, which may be one thing that needs to change) who was quoted in Business Insider, “For what it’s worth, I support the no working from home rule. There’s a ton of abuse of that at Yahoo. Something specific to the company.”
Another source who spoke to Kara Swisher at All Things D reported that Mayer had tried the carrot approach by offering free food and iPhones (!) at work, but was getting nowhere, as she saw Yahoo employees coming in later and leaving earlier than employees at other Silicon Valley competitors.
Any leader who has had to transform a company or an institution understands that culture change is essential. People have to think differently about their jobs and their employers before they will do their jobs differently. Moreover, when a ship is going down, it is not unreasonable to demand all hands on deck. Mayer tried to go with the existing telecommuting policy, which apparently works elsewhere in Silicon Valley, but concluded that it was contributing to the culture that she needed to change. That does not mean she will not return to that policy if and when Yahoo! recovers. And in the meantime, I for one hope to see much more on-site day care on Yahoo!’s premises.”
- Marissa Mayer’s Job Is to Be CEO—Not to Make Life Easier for Working Moms
I still think she sets a terrible tone for working mothers and women all across the globe, but… I agree that it is possible that Yahoo’s internal culture was suffering under “too much of a good thing”. Since I am not an active member of the Yahoo workforce, we’ll have to wait and see. The problem is, there wil be little fanfare if employees are able to return to the telecommuting policy at a later time.
But I do also hope that, since she has provided a nursery next to her office for her own use, that she would start to establish space for more on-site day care centers for other women who are not able to afford live-in nannies. If the goal is employee satisfaction and an overall healthy company, you have to begin by taking care of people and if you’re asking them to rearrange their lives, you’ve got to do what you can to understand the changes you’re asking them to undertake and do what you can to meet them halfway. A CEO that is a woman and a mother should know and understand that.
…And, I’m sorry, but as a woman who was probably vetted far more seriously than her male counterparts, who had to promise that her pregnancy wouldn’t interfere with the company’s bottom line - doesn’t she have a duty, not just to the company to succeed, but to both men and women to show that companies can start being loyal to their workers again… that they can have a heart where their employees are concerned. That a company that invests in its employees, has employees that invest in the company.
If Mayer is really trying to turn things around and engage these employees, she needs to start by bringing the people together, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too. Make that more fun, than a chore.