Last week Marissa Mayer, the relatively new CEO of Yahoo!, and apparent Super Mom to her newborn, made a big change for the staff. No more working remotely, a.k.a. telecommuting or what many of us know as working from home. The internet buzzed over this new development and many parents chimed in with their disapproval citing what a step back this is for working parents, especially mothers, all over the world.
The Memo stated:
“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” says the memo from the human resources department, and reprinted by Kara Swisher on allthingsd.com. “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”
As a mother who works from home, I cannot imagine what a blow this must have been to so many who work for the company. In a quest to see what other bloggers were saying, I sat down with the help of some of our writers to put together a list of their favorite post across the internet expressing their feelings about Ms. Mayer’s new employment rule.
Maria Guido at Mommyish takes the time to provide research about working from home, citing a Stanford survey that shows an increase of productivity by 13% when the employee in question is telecommuting:
Reporting to the office from nine to five, five days a week worked great when there was always someone taking care of things at home. That person would most likely be the wife and mother. Times have changed and working parents – men and women alike – can enjoy the flexibility that telecommuting brings while taking care of their responsibilities at home.
Annie at PhD in Parenting wrote a post called Marissa Mater and Sheryl Sandberg: When Executive Women Keep Other Women Down, which is not only insightful, it showcases the truth of a larger problem in our country. She discusses the gender gap in the work place, which these two women continue to promote with their actions:
No one asks men about their family plans. It is assumed that whether he has children or not, he’ll continue to be available as needed and be 100% focused on his job and his career. The assumption that only women would need to take time off, not be able to travel for work, and have to balance children’s day care and doctor’s appointments with work commitments, is discriminatory.
Jodi Grundig from Mom’s Favorite Stuff opens up about her experience with a miscarriage, bedrest during pregnancy, and a premature baby showcasing why she is disappointed with Marissa Mayer’s new anti-parent telecommuting rules:
Working from home CAN work, if you set appropriate boundaries. I was probably even more effective from home because there was no water cooler, no coffee breaks across the street to Starbucks. It helped me keep my career for three additional years, and allowed my employer to retain a long-time employee.
Jezebel took on the topic as well, describing Mayer as notoriously gender blind.
Numerous sources told Swisher that the mandate doesn’t just extend to employees who were working from home full-time; it applies to staffers who had arrangements to work from home just one or two days a week, too. Many of the people who wrote to her were pissed off “because they felt they were initially hired with the assumption that they could work more flexibly.”
Jennifer Owens at the Huffington Post wrote Marissa Mayer’s No-Flex Policy Old School for Young Mom CEO describing her telecommuting ban:
Alas, no. Instead, her plan as announced last week is to lead her workforce back to the last century by banning work-from-home policies across the company.
Our lovely Joanne Bamberger wrote Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer: “Lean In” and Get your Butt to the Office on her website PunditMom:
Whether it’s fair or not, I expect more of high-powered women leaders who also happen to be mothers when it comes to understanding what’s realistic for most women in the workforce — especially when the online community of women has rallied around them in the past, as happened when Mayer announced shortly after becoming Yahoo!’s CEO, that she was pregnant and would only be taking a couple of weeks off for maternity leave.
Then I was able to find two opinions on the flip side of the debate. I am not sure if it is a coincidence, or if this shows the extreme gender gap in the work force, but the only commentary I could find supporting Mayer’s choice was written by men. Maybe because they often have less responsibilities when it comes to raising children in our society?
By my best estimation, Marissa Mayer is trying to infuse her new company with much of the same attitude that her previous employer, Google, is famous for. After years of unsuccessful incremental change, Yahoo surely needs it.
Lastly, Steve Kandell at BuzzFeed wrote No, Marissa Mayer Doesn’t Hate Your Children, in typical Buzzfeed style:
What [Huffington Post's Lisa] Belkin calls “a blending of life and work” cannot help but read as “a gig so easy, you can do other shit and still get paid!” Calling Mayer’s decision a regression to the culture of 40 years ago isn’t merely a gross generalization, it negates the possibility that modern workplaces — the good ones, anyway — are indeed often optimized to the needs of a particular company and its employees and are not cookie-cutter industrial-park cubicle farms.
How do YOU feel about changes at Yahoo?