Storm in the tea cup
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer decided to ban employees from telecommuting recently. From June 1 all employees will have report to office to work. A routine decision, you may say. But the memo, which detailed Mayer’s decision raised a storm and became one of the most reported corporate stories of the recent times. She was uniformly slammed by all kinds of onlookers – media, assorted experts on the subject and of course, the employees. Forbes said the move was a return to the stone age. Atlantic said Marissa Mayer is wrong.
Forward looking companies, goes the school of thought, need to leverage the new realities. The millennials, the internet generation, are beginning to pour into the work force. They are tech savvy, have a liberated mind and do not like to get confined to the office spaces, they say. Communication technologies have advanced so much, there is no difference between those working virtually or in real. For many employees, especially young mothers, telecommuting offers a better balance with life. Companies benefit by reducing administrative overheads and get access to a wider pool of talent. So, for violating all these precepts Mayer got roundly criticised.
A Forrester report says only 17% of Americans work from home for 2+ days a week. In other developed countries telecommuting is even less. So, what explains the excitement around Yahoo’s new work policy? Possibly, a weak story week. With nothing else to write about, reporters latched on to it.