Wouldn't the world be a perfect place if we simply followed every talking head who pontificates on a subject (yours truly excluded…)? Of course, the goal doesn't usually involve the content of the story, but to create a bait headline that'll compel a reader to click-through (the shortest way to accomplish this: make them angry). And what a perfect subject to select for this purpose; Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer rescinds remote privileges!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Then, the experts swoop in to tell us what she's really doing:
- Implementing a stealth layoff by pissing-off employees, who will then quit on their own,
- Discriminating against working moms (what about dads?),
- Taking us back to draconian times!
You get the idea…and you know what? Every one of these claims might be true! But, perhaps she is:
- Putting her arms around a human resources issue that's grown out of control,
- Fostering improved inter-company relations,
- Trying to better-assess a situation she can't see.
Mix & match as you like. Does that mean I support the decision? It's not about that. I, like you, can easily cite detriments as well:
- More hours/dollars wasted on fuel, time and wear & tear sitting in traffic (I've been wondering whether the increase in traffic would actually be noticeable to outsiders),
- Less quality/leisure time with family, friends or hobbies,
- More pressure on significant other/spouse/parent to 'pick up the slack' of the Yahoo! employee (i.e. What I'm getting at is, suppose this particular employee is also a caregiver to an elderly parent; it ain't only about children, is it?)
- More pressure on single, unattached employee for similar reasons (there are only so many hours in the day for grocery shopping, errands and of course, appointments).
- Don't even get me started on morale…at least in the short term.
- Higher costs for Yahoo! as well; supporting all of these additional bodies on-site will have a marked effect on resources, such as electricity, maintenance, space allocation, furniture & supplies, etc.
I hate to quote Facebook, but: It's complicated.
This is why it's extremely difficult to be a manager; too many cooks and Monday-morning quarterbacks. My favorite is the propensity to quote studies about the benefits/detriments of working remotely. You know what? It's irrelevant except as it pertains to Yahoo!! (So, when I want to add a 'bang' to a sentence ending in the word "Yahoo!", is that how I do it?).
Of course, there is a place for statistics and studies as a general guide. But what matters most is, how do these statistics and studies relate to the specific situation at Yahoo!? There are a lot of factors involved, and I don't see too many of these articles wading very far into the weeds.
Last point; substitute any other name for Yahoo! Same rules apply.
P.S. I've included articles from people who do know the subject well – a lot better than I do, anyway (e.g. Richard Branson) but I think his particular comments answer his own concerns:
"To successfully work with other people, you have to trust each other. A
big part of this is trusting people to get their work done wherever they
are, without supervision." [Italics added].
- Is it possible that Yahoo! harbors irrational mistrust of their employees?
- Is it possible that some employees have abused Yahoo!'s trust?
It could be one, both or neither. I wonder how this will play out in the months leading up to implementation? I wonder what things will look like six months after implementation?