Home Work

Today’s comic was inspired by Marissa Mayer’s recent decree to ban workers from telecommuting at Yahoo. Ultimately, in Yahoo’s case, I feel that her move was a wise one. How will it all play out? We’ll just have to wait and see…

What do you think? Did Marissa make the right call? Or was it a knee-jerk reaction to bigger problems within Yahoo itself?
Sound off in the comments below!


These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • Lynn K. FletcherReply
    March 1, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I think she’s a bit hypocrtical to other mothers on staff.

  • Jake EskelReply
    March 1, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I think that it is a step backwards. Yahoo has problems, and the CEO wants to restructure the company. However, people work well from home, and the idea that a company can’t function without people in the offices just cuts out a lot of the talent.

  • Kevin RubinReply
    March 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    While I don’t know much about work at Yahoo, I have worked on software development teams with people telecommuting. In my experience, no one working from home was as effective as they were when working in the office.

    For the first half of the 2000’s I worked at a company where some of the team worked in the office in India, some in the office in Oregon, two developers from their home offices in Canada and a manager from her home office in Alaska.

    It was awful. The two developers working from their home offices had both worked in the company’s office full time for several years before the global distribution, and they were both far more effective at what they did as teammates when in the office.

    Neither of them did as good work when remote. Mainly it was communication. We worked as a team (or tried to) and collaborated, and without being together it just rarely went smooth. Video conferencing, teleconferencing, screensharing and all those technologies were not equal to two or three or four or more people sitting side by side and pointing at the screen, scribbling on a notepad and being able to see each others’ expressions in a discussion. Never.

    We missed out on a lot. A developer might be talking on the phone with one of the telecommuters, and stuck on something that if I heard them in the next cubicle together I might know what they were talking about and be able to drift over and help. Or other people, same thing.

    And timezones made it worse… In India we were hours and hours ahead, all of us with difficult, hot, terrible commutes, but telecommuters in North America always complained about the difficulty of getting up on time to get to our scheduled meetings, thus making us in India stuck in the office later than usual. Telecommuters would dismiss our complaints with things like “I know it’s hard, you have to be flexible to make this work.”

    Us? Why us? Why not the telecommuters with the privilege of working from home, with a 30 second commute not requiring clothes, why the hell couldn’t they be flexible?

    Not that occasionally working from home doesn’t help to focus on a specific task. But that was only successful for short-term work, single tasks.

    Anyway, as for Yahoo… It’s not like Ms. Mayer is coming into a wildly successful company and screwing things up. Whatever Yahoo had been doing the last few years wasn’t working. If they need a more collaborative atmosphere, then getting people into the office might help them. It’s unlikely to hurt.

Tell me what you think!