We really don’t need another thought leader, executive, or HR person writing about Yahoo’s ban on employees working at home. But here I go anyway …
China Gorman, in her blog, had a wonderful point, summed up in one wonderful short and succinct paragraph when there is a lot of research that shows flexible work/life balance really works:
“Except when it isn’t working. Except when management has lost line of sight into employee productivity. Except when the culture of work and communication has gotten inefficient and lost its discipline and rigor. Except when out of sight truly is out of mind.”
(Click here, for China’s full blog):
Of course, Best Buy has also ended its ROWE (Results Only Work Environment). This was a program that received accolades from the media when Best Buy was actually still considered a successful company. Oddly enough, Best Buy did quite well before it implemented ROWE. I think the same thing could be said for Yahoo!
I get that we should have work environments that are flexible. I’m a huge believer in Brandon Hall Group’s model of being able to recruit the best talent into our company, from ANYWHERE. We get that we need talent to continue pushing our company into new markets, industries and delivering results to our clients. Right now it works really, really well. We’ve been both lucky and good in recruiting our team and I hope we can continue the culture that is currently in place.
But I also know I enjoy meeting our people face to face. And there is a lot to be said for face-to-face interactions. Ours at Brandon Hall Group have led to some of our best ideas and plans.
So from that context I leave you with these perspectives for those of you who think Marissa Mayer made a bad decision for banning working at home at Yahoo!:
- Yahoo! is publicly traded and is responsible to its shareholders. I’ve been a shareholder of Yahoo! If I was still a shareholder, I’d be very pleased with this move.
- Marissa Mayer is a data-driven executive who is responsible for the success of Yahoo! We don’t know what happened behind the scenes, but it’s not a far-fetched thought that someone came to her and said, “Look, these 500 employees we have working, 90% of them aren’t working, or even logging in until the afternoon.” Mayer’s reputation has always been around using data to make the right decisions.
- Yahoo! is giving people months to adjust. People are not getting fired.
- Doing this is a great way to have folks self-select and leave the company rather than having Yahoo! pay for underperformance and then pay unemployment on top of that.
I believe in work and life balance, being flexible and having a corporate culture where people are free to work from their homes, from the beach, from the coffee shop without coming into an office. Except when it doesn’t work. 😉