Why I’m Disappointed with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer

Published On March 3, 2013 | By Christa Schueler | Family, Technology, Women

Yahoo’s Flexible Telecommuting Policy

As many of you have already heard or seen on the news, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is recalling all of the employees who work from home.  The reason for ending Yahoo’s flexible telecommuting policy was due to Mayer’s belief that moving employees back to the office will weed out the non-committed workers while bringing forth much needed innovation.  Apparently, Yahoo has fallen behind on the internet road, eating the dust of Google, Bing and the like.  Mayer’s hope is that her employees will spawn a new age of awesomeness that will be the new Yahoo just because her workers are now secured within the confines of Yahoo’s offices.  I’m sorry but not only do I not agree, I’m kind of angry about it.

I’m not a CEO of a major corporation nor do I ever plan to be.  I know Ms. Mayer didn’t get to where she is without having extensive knowledge and experience in her field.  However, I have been on the other end of the spectrum.  I was an employee for both a major university and a managed care company.  During the time I was employed with the managed care company, I was a single mom and when I worked for the university, I was still a single mother, then got married and had another child.  It was hard working an 8 to 5 job with children and a home to take care of.  But like millions of women out there, I managed it the best way I could.  When I was pregnant with my third child, my husband and I had to make a hard decision.  With childcare costs rising at phenomenal rates, we realized that I would be handing over 80% of my paycheck just to keep our two kids in daycare.  So, I became a stay-at-home mom and I’ve been one ever since.  Had I been given the opportunity to stay employed if I could work from home, I would have done that in a heartbeat.  Unfortunately, it was not an option so my family struggled financially for quite some time.  It’s not that I didn’t want to work, but what were the alternatives?

Telecommuting jobs, in my opinion, are a godsend.  Not only can you work and contribute financially to your household income, but you can still take care of your children.  Even if your kids are in school, you can be there when they get home.  Instead of spending 30 to 45 minutes driving to the office, that time can be spent with your family, catching up on household stuff, or ….wait for it…working!  I would much rather spend that extra time working than sitting in my car during rush hour traffic.  And I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment.

Studies have shown that employees who work from home are more productive which makes sense to me.  As a former office employee, I know that I would have been more productive due to the lack of stress and the added flexibility staying at home would have afforded me.  Instead of worrying if the daycare was going to call me to pick up my son because he seemed particularly fussy that morning or if my daughter would be okay if I were fifteen minutes late picking her up from school, I could have put aside those fears and just focused on my job.  And if I hadn’t been bound to an 8 to 5 schedule, I’m almost positive that I could have worked more since I could have accomplished my tasks at anytime at home.  Work at 9:00 at night?  Absolutely!  But what about those meetings I would have missed?  Can anyone say Skype?

What about the argument that telecommuters are less innovative?  Apparently, there are also studies that show workers who telecommute lack innovation due to less interaction with their fellow employees and various other factors.  I realize that studies don’t lie; however, I never felt I was more creative, dazzling my superiors with revolutionary and ingenious concepts, just because I saw them everyday.  In fact, my best ideas came from home.  Even if my office was a playground of ingenuity and invention, like at Pixar, I know I still could have contributed my talents from home, not just a 6 x 6 cubicle.

Getting back to why I’m disappointed with Ms. Mayer (who recently became a mother herself).  I think her decision was too fixed and uncompromising.  Couldn’t she have worked something out with the telecommuters by meeting them halfway, so to speak?  Maybe she could have requested they come into the office once a week or partake in mandatory meetings in-office or by Skype.  Just because you’re at home, does not mean you cannot “interact” with your fellow employees.  Not in this day and age.  Not with e-mail and instant messaging.  Do I have to look at you everyday just to be on the “cutting-edge” of technology?  I really think not.  But Pixar, Zappos and now Yahoo disagree.  There are fears now that more corporations will also review their telecommuter policy and follow suit.  So, women (and men) who were able to stay home will now have to go back to the office.  One step forward, two steps back, I say.

What are your thoughts on CEO’s Marissa Mayer’s decision to end the telecommuter policy at Yahoo?  Is it a step backwards or are you in agreement that it’s the best thing to do for the company?  Tell us what you think.

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About The Author

UNLV graduate, wife, mother of three, blogger and aspiring novelist, Christa Schueler brings her writing, editing and research skills to Recess. As an advocate for education and health reform and a 25 year Las Vegas resident, Christa understands the need for providing a platform and a "voice" for women in Southern Nevada. Despite Las Vegas being one of the fastest growing cities in the country, Christa has seen continual lack of community connection and strives to change that. Now, she's joined the sandbox revolution!

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