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Marissa Mayer, the new CEO for Yahoo, is making waves in her new job by no longer allowing employees to telecommute to from work to home. She’s requiring that all employees work in the office during their designated work schedules (or they will have to find new jobs.) Yikes. I’m not a human resource professional, but I’m guessing this might not be the best way to ensure employee retention.
I am a stay-at-home mom to two children, but I’m also a freelance writer and graduate school student. I view myself as a telecommuter for my non-parenting work every day. I have numerous writing deadlines each week that I must meet. I have term papers and group projects to collaborate on. I have phone calls and online meetings I’m required to attend. At the same time, I am parenting two children who are ages 4 and 18 months. Not once do I go into an office to do my work. I have mastered the art of working at my kitchen table, working on my phone, working at the counter and maybe on the rarest occasions, actually working out of my home office.
And you know what? I get it all done. Every last bit of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bragging. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do – I’m doing my job. I’m doing the same thing that millions of others are doing. We work from home and are breaking the myth that we are watching soap operas and eating bon bons on our couch.
The irony about this thing is that you’ll find that folks who work from home actually get distracted less. We don’t have people stopping by our cubicle to tell us about their last night’s dinner, or we don’t have endless meetings that we get pulled into at the last minute. We get to set a schedule that actually allows us to be productive. What I don’t understand about Mayer’s move to eliminate telecommuting is that she came from Google – a company that has shown the success in giving their employees more independence and freedom.
I understand that Yahoo is in need of improvement, however I don’t believe forced employee relations is the way to do it. Another confusing aspect of this is that the majority of those who telecommute for Yahoo are customer service representatives – they are the ones in a miniature box of a cubicle on the phone all day. Can’t these folks at least do it on a comfortable chair and in a bit more of a private environment?
The formula seems simple to me – keep employees happy and productive — they will stay and your business will thrive. The “new” Yahoo isn’t starting off on the best foot. I wonder if Marissa Mayer should take a few days to work from home – I’m guessing she’ll figure out a new strategy much faster.
Danielle Herzog is married and a mother to two children. Read her every Wednesday on momaha.
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