Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer has caused immense fall out by issuing a new policy declaring that starting in June, all Yahoo! employees are required to come in to the office, and that working from home is now banned. At 37, Mayer is the youngest ever CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and she previously made headline news for announcing she was six months pregnant a few hours after stepping into her role as chief — and for subsequently taking only two weeks maternity leave before returning to work and publicly stating that, “The baby’s been way easier than everyone made it out to be.”
To add insult to injury, Mayer installed a nursery in her office, and she’s allowed to bring her child to work. It’s good to be the queen, because apparently she’s a working mother who combines her career with parenting, but her fellow Yahoo! employees do not share this privilege and are now going to be forced to scramble to completely re-orchestrate their lives based on her edict. And due to her salary, $117 million over 5 years, Mayer no doubt has the ability to hire any number of nannies to help take care of her child. Again, a luxury the majority of mothers can’t afford — many of whom earn a paycheck that just about covers their childcare costs, while barely making a profit.
As a work from home mom myself, I am deeply disturbed at the stress this announcement will cause my fellow parents who report to duty on the home front, and who now have to find an alternative way to balance the fine art of “doing it all” in a society and culture where the “powers that be” behind the workforce don’t want to help moms and dads have both a successful career and a thriving home life in which they are present to raise their children.
One of the explanations Mayer offers for rolling out her new office standard is, “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home… we need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.” However, there is overwhelming evidence that contradicts this ideology. Read on to learn why working from home is better for employees, companies and the environment. And cast your vote regarding Mayer’s controversial mandate in the poll below.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Of course, many will argue that people slack off if they’re not being babysat in a formal office setting. But why not weed out the employees who aren’t performing well and let those who are doing a fine job working from home continue to work in a remote environment? If managers give workers project based goals and directives so they can’t hide out and they must produce results, then the need to micromanage becomes obsolete. The proof is in the pudding.
Telecommuting has been proven to be a modern and efficient way to perform a job. According to a study performed by researchers from Brigham Young University, who analyzed data from 24,436 IBM employees in 75 countries, “Telecommuters balance work and family life better than office workers… [and] they can maintain that balance even while sometimes squeezing in a couple extra days’ worth of work each week.” The lead study author adds, “Managers were initially skeptical about the wisdom of working at home and said things like, ‘If we can’t see them, how can we know they are working?’” But, “Nowadays more than 80 percent of IBM managers agree that productivity increases in a flexible environment.”
Additionally, The Telework Research Network cites the following compelling statistics garnered from over 500 studies with regard to working from home:
- People are sick of the rat race, eager to take control of their lives, and desperate to find a balance between work and life.
- 95% of employers say telework has a high impact on employee retention.
78% of employees who call in sick, really aren’t. They do so because of family issues, personal needs, and stress.
Teleworkers typically continue to work when they’re sick (without infecting others).
Businesses lose $600 billion a year in workplace distractions.
Traffic jams rob the U.S. economy of $78 billion/year in productivity.
For telework to work, employees must be measured by what they do, not where or how they do it.
And let’s not fail to mention the eco-friendly attributes of working from home. Again, looking to IBM as a trailblazer that allowed employees to start working remotely. They note on their corporate website:
“IBM was one of the first global companies to pioneer programs to reduce employee commuting. It has sustained these programs for nearly two decades. Two key aspects are its (a) work-at-home program and (b) mobile employees program. Today, more than 128,000 (29 percent) of employees globally participate in one of these programs. In 2011, in just the U.S. alone, IBM’s work-at-home program conserved approximately 6.4 million gallons of fuel and avoided more than 50,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.”
And that’s just one company’s impact in one country!
Image via Fortune Live Media
Perhaps Mayer’s decidedly retro decision to force everyone to return to an office setting is due to her own obsessive drive to work, work, work. According to CNNMoney, “during her first two years at [previous employer] Google, Mayer worked 100 hours a week.” Reporter Patricia Sellers, interviewed Marissa Mayer at the Fortune Most Powerful Women dinner and she noted, “even though Mayer was heading home to her two-month-old baby, Macallister, and bound for Washington early this morning to meet with President Obama and a bunch of other Fortune 500 CEOs at the White House, Mayer was the last–the very last–person to leave our event last evening.” Sellers continues, “The Yahoo chief’s philosophy? [Mayer] says she once read that Bruce Springsteen has a theory about his own career success and longevity: ‘I stick around.'”
America could be completely overhauled if that “I stick around” ideology was applied to our children and our families. Perhaps the fact that Americans are overworked, and forced to work on other people’s terms is why according to this study, America is dubbed the “Land of the Free, Home Of the Depressed,” ranking the 2nd most depressed country in the world due to the gross misconception that “More money buys more options and security, which, ultimately, leads to greater happiness.” Nope! Instead, “Citizens of wealthier countries are more likely to be depressed.” So maybe when we all stop chasing the almighty dollar and focusing more on what really matters in life: time spent with family, flexibility, creativity, freedom to thrive in a work environment that best suits you, we’ll really have something to Yahoo! about.
Lead image via Working Mom Journal