Marissa Mayer says no more telecommuting for Yahoo employees

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KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319
Marissa Mayer says no more telecommuting for Yahoo employees

What do you think of Yahoo's impending policy of no more working from home. Do you think its a good thing? Bad thing? Is it another strike against women or working families in general? Or is it what they need to do to get Yahoo back on their feet.

I'm not going to C&P any one article because there are a lot of differing opinions out there and you can find articles leaning both ways.

Here are a variety that argue both sides. But you can find plenty more

Decision is wrong:
4 Reasons Marissa Mayer's No-At-Home-Work Policy Is an Epic Fail - Forbes

Lisa Belkin: Marissa Mayer's Work-From-Home Ban Is The Exact Opposite Of What CEOs Should Be Doing

Decision is right:
Marissa Mayer, I hear you | ZDNet

No, Marissa Mayer Doesn't Hate Your Children

FTR, i think the last article is a bit off the mark. Very few telecommuters i know actually attempt to care for their children all day while they work a full time job.

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

I think telecommuting is a great option and if your job has work that can be done at home then you should be allowed to. Since I went back to work in October the two kids have missed over 20 days of daycare (weather and illness). 14 of those were in my first three months when I didn't get any days off. My husband stayed home and made up the rest of his hours at night or on the weekend. If he couldn't have done that, we would have used up all our holiday time because of blizzards, hurricanes, vomitting and fever.

He also routinely telecommutes if the weather is horrible because of the impact on his commute or when he was at the office 12+ hours the day before. In those cases he sleeps an extra hour and still puts in a 10 hour day before I get home. He does billable hours and has lots of deadlines so it is obvious if he doesn't do the work.

I know one guy who does it 2 days a week and he is not married and has no kids. He loves it because goes running at lunch and prefers running near his house than downtown.

However, I know lots of people who take it as a paid day off and that messes it up for everyone else.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

The coverage of the decision actually bothers me more than the decision itself. I think that such a big deal is being made of the fact that a WOMAN made this decision (omfg women are supposed to be so family friendly!!! *sexist assumption*) is annoying as heck to me. She is taking a risk here ~ she could easily lose good talent if employees are not willing to come into the office. My husband works from home and if he suddenly had to be in an office we would have to move to either SAn Fan or DC. I don't know if he would look for something else or if we would move ~ that would be a big decision for our family!

She didn't get to the position she did at the age she did by being an idiot. Like any decision made my CEO's the proof is going to be in the pudding ~ in this case profitability coupled with stock performance, I would guess.

Not knowing the inner workings of how many of their employees currently work from home, or how their creative teams are set up, it would be impossible for me to say if this is a good or bad decision on Yahoo's part. I'm not willing to judge her or necessarily call this decision "anti family" ~ who knows ~ if this decision makes Yahoo more profitable and their stock go up, their employees will ALL benefit as will their families.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I work for a company that promotes working remotely. I work remotely and I love it. It was the reason I joined. I work better at home because I don't have distractions, I can sleep longer since I don't have to get dressed up all the time or commute. I typically go in office 1x/mo for meetings. I think it is such a good idea for those that want it.

Like Melis said though, it's not something we will know for sure how it will pan out but my initial reaction is that they will lose talent and that's not good. Too many people who were hired for the benefit to working at home may not be on board with coming into the office 100% of the time. I sure wouldn't.

Sapphire Sunsets's picture
Joined: 05/19/02
Posts: 672

It's a bad idea. Ditto on people who took a job because they could work from home. Thats one of the main reasons my sister took the job she did after she had her middle child.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

Okay i have a lot to say about this and not enough time to put all my thoughts into one post right now. So I'm just going to write out what I have in my brain at the moment.

I'll start by saying I think its a bad idea. I say that while acknowledging that i don't work at Yahoo, i am not a CEO, and not a CEO at Yahoo.

Why I think its a bad idea.

Why i don't think its good for Yahoo:
First, i agree with the Forbes article i linked to. I think this is an excellent way to weed out your very good remote employees. They are talented and have the skill set most likely to work where they want to. It leaves you with the less marketable remote employees who may feel like they have no choice but to move from wherever they are and comply. So, I don't see that as good for Yahoo.

Second, I think its bad for company morale. Sure that may only be temporary, but that means taking a temporary hit and I am still skeptical of the beneficial return on the decision.

Third, I think for every con that was mentioned about working from home, there is a pro. Working remotely is not strictly negative and has some advantages over working in an office. I think having a balance of both types of pros and cons is beneficial to a company. I question if Yahoo has full considered what they are giving up (which is more than just employee satisfaction IMO).

And of course i agree that they are taking on an added monetary expense, both in providing resources for these new in office employees and the cost of replacing the ones that will choose to leave

Now why I think its bad for society:
I think there are huge benefits to encouraging telecommuting. I know first hand the benefits it has provided my family. It has nothing to do with trying to work while my kids are home, because I don't do that. Well, not my official hours anyway. Often flex scheduling and working from home go hand in hand and the flex scheduling is a gift to double income families that is extremely valuable. It improves our quality of life and the quality time i can spend with my kids. Its a gift that I value everyday, and in my opinion the type of gift our society should value. My flex schedule works because I can work partial time in the evenings, from home.

Environmentally it goes without saying why its beneficial.

And lastly from a female perspective, i do think taking away these options where they really do work (tech jobs) is bad for professional females. While in the great picture, telecommuting was a good break to double working families in general, having the option taken away is more of a disadvantage for women, who i think still in this day and age are going to be the ones that will make the sacrifices professionally more-so than men if they need to balance their home life. We don't live in an age yet where tending to family is viewed equally.

Ultimately i do criticize Mayer. And I'm totally okay with her taking public heat for it. And yes with her being female, i do come down on her harder when i see what her creating what I feel are roadblocks for family/work balance. Just because she made it to the point of being a successful CEO doesn't mean that she is infallible or always makes good decisions. There are plenty of CEO's that make bad decisions.

I"m not saying she isn't allowed to make whatever decision she sees fit for her company. But I don't feel bad at all for being disappointed in her for doing so...and I feel pretty safe saying that just because she's CEO doesn't automatically make it right. And I don't really think profitability and performance are necessarily meaningful if they are at the expense of something i see as valuable to society.

Just as an example, Walmart does all sorts of things in the name of profitability and performance at the expense of things that i see as good for society.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

ITA with everything Kim said. I telecommute regularly one day a week, and have the flexibility to do it other days. My job is project based; if we're on a deadline and my family is sick, taking the day off is not really an option. I get most of my work done at night after the kids are asleep, and I can book medical appointments and school conferences during the day as long as I still have time to check in and get a few work things done if needed. I would not consider any job right now that did not offer this flexibility.

It does sound like Yahoo had a real problem with remote workers, but I think a better decision for Ms. Mayer would have been to hold managers more accountable for their employees and productivity than to outright ban telecommuting.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"KimPossible" wrote:

Ultimately i do criticize Mayer. And I'm totally okay with her taking public heat for it. And yes with her being female, i do come down on her harder when i see what her creating what I feel are roadblocks for family/work balance. Just because she made it to the point of being a successful CEO doesn't mean that she is infallible or always makes good decisions. There are plenty of CEO's that make bad decisions.

I"m not saying she isn't allowed to make whatever decision she sees fit for her company. But I don't feel bad at all for being disappointed in her for doing so...and I feel pretty safe saying that just because she's CEO doesn't automatically make it right. And I don't really think profitability and performance are necessarily meaningful if they are at the expense of something i see as valuable to society.

Just as an example, Walmart does all sorts of things in the name of profitability and performance at the expense of things that i see as good for society.

I in no way think that she is infallible or that simply by being a CEO she will always make the right decision. I'm just saying that if the identified a problem and is trying to tackle it, it is possible that her decision IS a good one. If it isn't, they will lose talent and their profitability and stock will suffer.

I also think that its total BS that she is held to a different standard than a man would be. She is not charged with making family friendly decisions over profitability decisions simply because she has a vagina.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Potter75" wrote:

I in no way think that she is infallible or that simply by being a CEO she will always make the right decision. I'm just saying that if the identified a problem and is trying to tackle it, it is possible that her decision IS a good one. If it isn't, they will lose talent and their profitability and stock will suffer.

Even if it were to help with profitability, i still think its the wrong choice. I think its bad for society to discourage the option and I think there are other ways they could have dealt with getting people into the office to collaborate. THey could have modified the policy instead of killed it. Like i said before, i don't think every business decision is right just because it increases profitability.

I also think that its total BS that she is held to a different standard than a man would be. She is not charged with making family friendly decisions over profitability decisions simply because she has a vagina.

I'm not saying i would find it acceptable if a man were to have done it but not a woman. My CEO is a male and i would have the same criticisms. But I don't think its wrong to be disappointed when someone from a disadvantaged group does things to encourage maintaining that disadvantage. Seems pretty logical to me that would make some people feel a little extra displeased.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I just don't see this as something that is more damaging to women than to men, so I guess thats where the disconnect is.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Potter75" wrote:

I just don't see this as something that is more damaging to women than to men, so I guess thats where the disconnect is.

why dont you.think so? I believe in the glass ceiling. do you? part of it is intangible...and very much so based in the fact that the female is still viewed more as the primary caretaker. statistically the woman is going to sacrifice her career for the family more often than the male. i was told once by the head of an engineering department that i should consider doing programming for a place like the state instead of a software develooment company...where the hours and demands wouldnt be so intense. how many men do you think are questioned about their commitment to family by working the job they do.

the company where i am mow...and their flex scheduling/telecommuting policies have been a blessing for sure.

maybe a different decade from now...it will affect men and women the same and just simply be bad for double income families in general only. and in that scenario...it would still be bad for these families so i would still feel same way about.the decision

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I don't understand how going into an office is worse for women than men.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Potter75" wrote:

I don't understand how going into an office is worse for women than men.

Going into an office is not worse for women than it is for men. Having a telecommuting worker provides a flexibility that provides us with a better quality of life and better quality time for our kids. If one of us can't do that, that is a huge change. If a family feels pressured to make an alternative sacrifice by say....stop working all together, or take a lower skill, less professional job with part time hours its typically going to be the woman who is more likely to do that.

People aren't entitled to work from home, but I'm of the belief that it is better for society when work places do what they can to encourage a family/work balance and with dual income families being so prevalent, telecommuting is the type of benefits we need where we can get them.

If yahoo has no chance of surviving if there are telecommuters, then i would concede that they need to change that. But I don't believe the options were "No telecommuting or go bankrupt" I agree with Spacers, they could have modified their telecommuting policies instead of getting rid of them completely.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

If working from home was so important to someone that it would literally impact their quality of life, I assume that they would look for another work from home job........not leave the work force or take a less professional job. That is an illogical leap in my opinion. I assume that everyone who works from home and has children still has them in daycare ~ so if the kids are in daycare anyway does it matter if a parents butt is parked in their office at home or in their office in an office filled with coworkers? I don't think that it does.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Potter75" wrote:

If working from home was so important to someone that it would literally impact their quality of life, I assume that they would look for another work from home job........not leave the work force or take a less professional job.

Its not that easy to land a work at home job. That's kind of the point. This is a time when we should be encouraging more companies to be doing so, not making statements that to be a quality business, people can't work remote. If i ever have to leave the job i have now....i really do worry about being able to replace it with something that works at well. My more readily available choices would be to 1)Take a conventional job and put my kids in aftercare until 5:30 pm every day 2)Sacrifice my career, and a lot of money to either stay home full time or simply do part time work. If i easily found another work from home job? I"d consider myself tremendously lucky.

Environmentally, socially, the type of family situations that are common today, working remote should be promoted.

That is an illogical leap in my opinion. I assume that everyone who works from home and has children still has them in daycare ~ so if the kids are in daycare anyway does it matter if a parents butt is parked in their office at home or in their office in an office filled with coworkers? I don't think that it does.

Yes i said in my first post that its not about watching kids while you work. My kids are in school/daycare, but as i said before, often working at home works well and comes with a flex schedule. Today i left at 2:30 so that i could take Nathalie to dance after school, i do that every week. I work earlier in the day...before our HQ office would even be open, and I work in the evenings...at home.

Technically I'm scheduled for 36 hours, but they really get a deal out of it because most weeks I work more than 40, often a lot more than 40. I stick to 36 official because its a good safety net on those weeks that family life is so crazy that I can't work more. But the ability to work my schedule the way i need to makes it so much easier to work more, with less stress on my family.

Being able to work from home and not be confined to office hours, or the thought of sitting in an office alone at 10pm at night is good quality stuff. I get to put in the time I need to maintain my professional career as well as spend better time with my family, instead of just the two hours before they go to bed and while they sleep. And my office gets more out of me than they would if i had to go into the building every time I wanted to work.

Like I said...pros and cons to being in an office and being remote. But from a society standpoint, i think our corporate world benefits from being understanding of a double income's desire to balance family and work life...and society I think as a whole benefits from parents being able to spend more time with their kids.

And on a side note I think its very reasonable to require a certain amount of time a month or year in an office. With the technology there is today and the compromises that could be made on office face time there is just no reason to cut this option out for everyone.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I understand that it gives you more flexibility to run errands or do things with your kids. I also understand how an employer may not see that flexibillity you prize an actual asset to them. I know many people who simply couldn't succeed at working from home, they would lose focus, be distracted, go to the gym, etc etc (this is by their own admission, not my judgement). For many families it can present difficulty ~ If my husband didn't travel as much as he does I would hate his working from home all day every day, even though he has his own full office in our home (with a door he can lock) I don't have friends over on the days he is working from home ~ too noisy. Sometimes it feels like he is constantly working ~ where as sometimes people who are "at" work then LEAVE work leave some of it behind.

I simply don't see working from home as a win in all situations, especially for an employer. Because of that, I understand why an employer may want to shake things up/ demand change if their current set up with telecommuters is not working for their business model and profitability.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Potter75" wrote:

I understand that it gives you more flexibility to run errands or do things with your kids. I also understand how an employer may not see that flexibillity you prize an actual asset to them.

The asset is less stressed out employees, more satisfied ones, and for a lot of them (i can point to studies if need be) more productive ones. And the other issue is social responsibility....I've tried to emphasize the societal impact and the environmental impact of letting your coworkers work from home and balance their life better.

I know many people who simply couldn't succeed at working from home, they would lose focus, be distracted, go to the gym, etc etc (this is by their own admission, not my judgement).

You can fire a non productive remote employee the same way you fire a non productive in office employee. You can have beneficial and detrimental employees in both settings. Some in-office employees are distracted by the socialization factor (which is definitely not always collaborative) or will simply spend the day on facebook whether they are at home or in the office. Bad employees should be dealt with no matter what type they are.

For many families it can present difficulty ~ If my husband didn't travel as much as he does I would hate his working from home all day every day, even though he has his own full office in our home (with a door he can lock) I don't have friends over on the days he is working from home ~ too noisy. Sometimes it feels like he is constantly working ~ where as sometimes people who are "at" work then LEAVE work leave some of it behind.

My argument is not that working from home is for everyone and that everyone should do it.

I simply don't see working from home as a win in all situations

I don't either...i would never say "everyone must work from home" any sooner than i would say "no one can work from home"

especially for an employer.

What is your actual argument as to why its bad? Because some of them are not productive? I think thats a poor argument because not everyone in the office is productive. Because they can't collaborate? Don't let them be isolated, we communicate constantly at work. Make them come into the office on a regular basis...just not every day.

I see a lot of positives for the employer. Lower cost on office space and resources, happier employees (assuming its only those who want to work remote that are working remote), more productive employees. Just like i said in my first post. For ever con there is a pro and the opposite could be said of having them in the office.

Because of that, I understand why an employer may want to shake things up/ demand change if their current set up with telecommuters is not working for their business model and profitability.

If they could honestly tie it directly to the fact that they are telecommuting, i could see it as a place to shake things up. Or even if they cant' directly but suspect a change might be helpful. But based on what i see as benefits for both the employers and the employees and society...i don't think a complete ban is the right answer, accountability and modification is.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I'm not arguing that its bad. Heck, my husband does it and our family loves it (though we are realistic about the downsides, too). I'm simply arguing that I'm not willing to reduce Marissa Miller to a vagina who is responsible for making decisions which impact families more than they impact her corporation. At the end of the day I believe that a more profitable and sustainable company is the ultimate in rewards for a family, over simply working from home from a struggling and poorly performing company. If this worked and, say, their stock tripled, I have a feeling few families would be complaining. In publicly traded companies like this I'm sure they offer stock options in hiring, as bonuses and probably have some sort of ESP plan. Their profitability increasing dramatically would make those families a lot of money. And I don't agree with you that working from home is as much a boon to ALL families as it may be to you.

I disagree with you that the environmental benefits are as clear cut as you think

.

I'd love to stay home in my pajamas rather than fight through traffic so I can sit in a cubicle all day. I need help convincing my boss that working from home is a good idea. How much greener is telecommuting than dragging my sorry bones to work?The Lantern has been enjoying the pleasures of telecommuting for years, and its advantages are many -- that is, unless you like vehicle exhaust, tiny workspaces, dress codes and wasting your time. Working from home is a win-win situation for workers and employers. The technology company Cisco recently surveyed 1,992 employees who telecommuted an average of two days per week. The workers reported increased productivity and quality of work. The company noted that telecommuting increases retention rates.
Unfortunately, the environmental benefits aren't quite as clear. How much carbon dioxide you save, if any, depends on how far you live from work and how you get there, among other things.
Let's consider Mr. Wheeler, the average American car commuter. According to the American Community Survey, 86 percent of the nation's workers drive to work, with three-quarters of those going solo. The average commuting distance is 32 miles roundtrip, according a 2005 poll by ABC News, Time magazine, and The Post. If Mr. Wheeler's car is in compliance with the EPA's upcoming 2012 carbon dioxide emissions guidelines, his drive will produce 20.9 pounds of CO2 per day. Mr. Wheeler works 235 days per year, since he takes three weeks of vacation and stays home on all 10 federal holidays, so the annual output of his commute is 4,890 pounds of CO2. That's more than an electric furnace generates heating the average American home for a year. (A car's emissions aren't limited to CO2, of course: Mr. Wheeler will also be responsible for nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and other gaseous and particulate nasties.)

Sounds like a huge win for telecommuting, right? The bleary-eyed walk from bedroom to home office requires no fossil fuels at all.
Not so fast.
As much as you may hate your workplace, with its detestable politics, stale break-room coffee and interminable small-talk obligations, it's a more energy-efficient work environment than the average American home. For one thing, that cramped cubicle farm means that less air has to be heated or cooled to keep the worker bees buzzing. Stay home, and you have to climate-control at least your own home office, if not the entire house. Office workers also share certain equipment, such as printers and fax machines. At home, you're probably running your own peripherals.
These inefficiencies can significantly reduce the carbon savings of working in your pajamas, according to a 2005 study by Erasmia Kitou and Arpad Horvath of the University of California at Berkeley. On cold days, an office produces 1.3 pounds of CO2 keeping each worker warm, compared with 11.9 pounds for the average telecommuter. That means Mr. Wheeler's furnace will give back 10.6 of the 20.9 pounds of carbon he saves by leaving his car in the garage.
(On hot days, the office emits slightly more than 1.3 pounds to cool each worker. Many people have single-room air conditioners to cool only their office, are reluctant to turn their AC on, or don't have an air conditioner. Moreover, in the Lantern's experience, most office buildings could keep raw salmon steaks fresh during the summer.)
Running your own equipment also makes a big difference. At the office, your computer and shared peripherals produce 0.9 pounds of CO2 per day, according to the Berkeley study, compared with 4.9 pounds for the same gadgets at home. So Mr. Wheeler loses another 19 percent of his CO2 savings to his printer and fax machine.
There's more. People who work at home do a whole bunch of energy-intensive things they probably wouldn't do if stuck at the office. They take trips to the grocery store, run the dishwasher or even sneak in a little TV-watching. The carbon emissions associated with these extracurriculars can be hard to quantify, but Kitou and Harvath found that rebound effects generate around 6.6 pounds of carbon dioxide per day, another 30 percent of Mr. Wheeler's total.
Altogether, on the average day in which heating is required, Mr. Wheeler produces almost exactly the same amount of carbon dioxide whether he goes to work or stays home.
That doesn't make telecommuting a loser, of course. Depending on where Mr. Wheeler lives, there may be very few days in which he actually needs to turn on the heat. On warm days, staying home saves an average of 13.5 pounds of carbon dioxide. And there are lots of little changes he could make to tip the telecommuting lifestyle in the Earth's favor, even in the dead of winter. For example, he could improve his home's insulation (or just wear a sweater in the winter), ditch his personal fax and printer, and stop the midday errands.
The scenario is a little different for the 5 percent of Americans who commute to work by train or bus. If they commuted the same distance as Mr. Wheeler, their rides would each generate about 7.1 pounds of CO2 per day, or 1,658 pounds annually. In that case, the inefficiencies of working at home clearly outweigh the transportation savings on cold days. On warm days, it's better to work at home, and on those that don't require climate control, it doesn't really matter whether you go into the office.
If you really want to help the Earth and you're not just looking for an excuse to watch "Judge Judy" when you should be working, all of this points to one simple answer: Abandon your car first, then worry about whether you'd rather take the bus or stay home.

I don't know if you could take the train or bus, but my husband could not to a daily office locally. When he has to go to DC, two to three times/month, he does take the train.

And I also disagree that the social benefits are as clear cut as you paint them to be. When my husband and I were engaged I almost moved to his house in DC. My company offered me the ability to work remotely. Frankly I was terrified, I would have HATED the isolation of working from home, I would not know anyone (work is a great place to make friends and have a social outlet). Ultimately he was also offered the ability to work remotely and he ended up moving to my house up here and working from home, which he has now been doing for the past 7 years. He does admit to missing the fun of office life at times, lunches out, etc etc. He gets that comraderie through his frequent travel, but I know that we both see and recognize how working alone can be lonely, isolating, and NOT always the social boon you state it to be. My friend worked remotely for Morningstar ~ she was the only one on her team working remotely. She hated it and felt constantly out of the loop. She ended up moving back to Chicago so that she could be in her office. Great for some, yes. All? No.

I'd never argue that no one should work remotely, or that everyone should. Again, I don't WANT to move to DC or SF where the cost of living is even higher than in my area. So I treasure the fact that we can do it. BUT, if his company determined that it was not working for them, I recognize that we would have a decision to make. Frankly, my husband LOVES his job and we would move and he would go into an office and that would be okay with all of us. I think that many Yahoo employees will feel the same way. Those that don't can go somewhere else. That is the beauty of choice.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I haven't had time to delve into this one very much (busy with work, hah!) but I just wanted to say that a) I agree with pretty much everything Kim has said and b) As someone who does go in to the office most days, but also has the option to set a more flexible schedule and work from home as needed, I have actually passed up higher paying positions with other companies because I knew I would not have that same flexibility. It's that important to my well being and the well being of my family, that I can put an actual dollar amount on it and am willing to work for less money in order to keep it. I think that could be argued as a benefit for the companies - assuming more people feel the way I do (and I know others at least where I work do) one of the benefits to the company is providing an important benefit to their employees that their employees may well decide balances out a smaller paycheck.

I also think that another benefit to the company is that, because of the flexibility, I am pretty much always on call as needed. We had a major issue last week, and my boss and I were on emails and calls from home until 11 at night each night, and beginning again at about 6 am each morning, then going on to still come in to the office each day for our full work days.

Even when things aren't blowing up, my usual routine is to get on email at about 6 am for about an hour each morning before I start getting ready for work, and then checking in throughout the evenings after I get home. I don't begrudge any of that, because the offset is that if I need to leave in the middle of the day to go to a drs appointment, or even leave at 3 to get a massage (I'm doing that today!) no one is going to question me about it. I don't do things like leaving the office for a massage NEARLY as often as I work on what are supposed to be my "off hours" so I wouldn't even necessarily say that it's a fair trade on hours. But just knowing that I can do it when I need/want to makes all of the difference in the world to me. Again, to me, having an employee who works way more than her "scheduled" time just because she is really content knowing that she can have flexibility when it's needed is a huge benefit to the company.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I don't know that I would count all those extra hours of work on non work time as a good thing for workers, as a generality, however. The US is the most overworked, least vacationed nation of all industrialized countries. I think that all of that "be available always around the clock etc" stuff leads to burnout, dissatisfaction, and families suffer more than they benefit, especially as it doesn't seem to be tied to higher wages or better compensation in most cases.

american workers work more hours - Google Search

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

That may be true - I can only speak for myself and tell you that for me, having that trade off (working extra hours but also having a ton of flexibility) is something that I truly prize about my job. That flexibility makes it all worth it to me. Not everyone may feel that way, but I truly truly do. I really like my job, and that flexibility (which again, I see as the trade off) is a huge part of why.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

"Potter75" wrote:

I don't know that I would count all those extra hours of work on non work time as a good thing for workers, as a generality, however. The US is the most overworked, least vacationed nation of all industrialized countries. I think that all of that "be available always around the clock etc" stuff leads to burnout, dissatisfaction, and families suffer more than they benefit, especially as it doesn't seem to be tied to higher wages or better compensation in most cases.

american workers work more hours - Google Search

I can only speak to my own personal situation, but it has really benefited me. Once I was given my first BlackBerry (now upgraded to an iPhone), I became freer. I made an arrangement at work whereby I leave earlier than almost everyone else, because I want to get to my kids and still have a few hours with them before bedtime. (I get home at 6, they go to bed at 8 and 9, respectively.) Thanks to my iPhone, I can take them to the park if I want when I get home, and still be able to work. I can stop working for an hour, be with the kids, then pick it up again after they go to bed to tie up any loose ends. I'm not burnt out....but I would be if I had to stay at the office later, miss the time with the kids, come home well after dinner time, etc.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Potter75" wrote:

I'm not arguing that its bad. Heck, my husband does it and our family loves it (though we are realistic about the downsides, too). I'm simply arguing that I'm not willing to reduce Marissa Miller to a vagina

Okay, I'm stopping mid-sentence to reiterate that I am not reducing her to a vagina. I in no way disapprove of the decision simply because she is a woman. It does disappoint me MORE coming from a woman.

who is responsible for making decisions which impact families more than they impact her corporation.

I think all companies have social responsibilities, not just yahoo, not just companies headed by women, but all in general. Back to my walmart analogy. If they stopped doing some of the things that I thought were socially irresponsible, it definitely would be at the sacrifice of some money. Corporate bottom dollar isn't a reason to justify anything and everything.

At the end of the day I believe that a more profitable and sustainable company is the ultimate in rewards for a family, over simply working from home from a struggling and poorly performing company. If this worked and, say, their stock tripled, I have a feeling few families would be complaining. In publicly traded companies like this I'm sure they offer stock options in hiring, as bonuses and probably have some sort of ESP plan. Their profitability increasing dramatically would make those families a lot of money. And I don't agree with you that working from home is as much a boon to ALL families as it may be to you.

Thats a big if and really i don't think if their stock triples it will be directly related to this specific decision. I think thats unrealistic, if she is successful in turning the company around it will be a combination of things. Its not like this is the one problem with Yahoo and then automagically they make everyone come into the office and things are all fixed. I don't think a sustainable company is mutual exclusive to one that has telecommuters. I

I was doing a little reading on the subject and read an interesting point. Marissa Mayer needs to turn yahoo around because they've become stagnant in their industry, maintaining their existing products and services yet not moving forward and thinking of the things that consumers need today. While other companies are embracing telecommuting and the lifestyle that goes with it, Yahoo has made a decision to nix that from their own equation. Instead of embracing ways to think outside the box and make telecommuting work for them and their employees, they chose to move backwards and get rid of it completely. That doesn't seem to be a sign of innovation and being 'with the times' I thought it was interesting food for thought.

Although i'm not surprised. I would imagine that Marissa has gotten to her point in her career by embracing the old school way of thinking, as evident by her two week maternity leave (which i actually dont' begrudge...as that is a personal decision). I think she is more of a believer in a woman working in a man's world than changing that world.

I disagree with you that the environmental benefits are as clear cut as you think

.

I don't know if you could take the train or bus, but my husband could not to a daily office locally. When he has to go to DC, two to three times/month, he does take the train.

I can agree that it isn't clear cut, but i don't think that article shuts the door on the idea that it can be more environmentally friendly. I run almost no peripherals...just my computer. I don't need a printer...i almost never print anything out ever. I dont' run an air conditioning unit in the summer, granted that works well with the climate i live in. I have no public transportation available to me that would work if i chose to work in my local city...and it wasn't available to me when i went to my current HQ office back in NY. And i dont' think its fair to include things like doing laundry or dishes while working at home. There is only going to be a limited amount of that per family regardless of where someone works. If someone doesn't run that load during work hours, they will just run it later in the day. Its not like working from home generates more laundry and more dishes....it does generate a little bit more dishes, but has never increased my load per day.

And I also disagree that the social benefits are as clear cut as you paint them to be. When my husband and I were engaged I almost moved to his house in DC. My company offered me the ability to work remotely. Frankly I was terrified, I would have HATED the isolation of working from home, I would not know anyone (work is a great place to make friends and have a social outlet). Ultimately he was also offered the ability to work remotely and he ended up moving to my house up here and working from home, which he has now been doing for the past 7 years. He does admit to missing the fun of office life at times, lunches out, etc etc. He gets that comraderie through his frequent travel, but I know that we both see and recognize how working alone can be lonely, isolating, and NOT always the social boon you state it to be. My friend worked remotely for Morningstar ~ she was the only one on her team working remotely. She hated it and felt constantly out of the loop. She ended up moving back to Chicago so that she could be in her office. Great for some, yes. All? No.

I didn't mean socialization, i meant 'for the social good' as in better work life balance is good for society. I absolutely miss have co-workers around. I love going back to the office on a regular basis and enjoy the time i have face to face with my colleagues. I agree it can get lonely. But just like you said, its not for everyone. Some people, like your husband or myself are willing to work with that given what you might get in return. I'm just saying that option should be there, especially for a company that needs to be in touch with modern day life.

I'd never argue that no one should work remotely, or that everyone should. Again, I don't WANT to move to DC or SF where the cost of living is even higher than in my area. So I treasure the fact that we can do it. BUT, if his company determined that it was not working for them, I recognize that we would have a decision to make. Frankly, my husband LOVES his job and we would move and he would go into an office and that would be okay with all of us. I think that many Yahoo employees will feel the same way. Those that don't can go somewhere else. That is the beauty of choice.

Yes this is a good play by play of what happens when a company might put a ban on telecommuting. Of course its great that if this happens someone isn't necessarily forced into one option only. I don't see what that has to do with if the decision is a good one or not though.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Potter75" wrote:

I don't know that I would count all those extra hours of work on non work time as a good thing for workers, as a generality, however. The US is the most overworked, least vacationed nation of all industrialized countries. I think that all of that "be available always around the clock etc" stuff leads to burnout, dissatisfaction, and families suffer more than they benefit, especially as it doesn't seem to be tied to higher wages or better compensation in most cases.

american workers work more hours - Google Search

We are overworked no matter what. If you want to further your career, in a lot of industries you can only do that if you bust your butt in the US and become 'stressed out'. Our culture in general just expects you to put in that time. If you go into your office and work 9 - 5 everyday and won't put in those extra hours, you may be adequate but it will hurt your chances of advancing. That's true at least in my industry. If you are willing to work 50, 60 hour weeks or more? You get recognized for that. Doesn't matter if you do it in the office or at home.

My entire team is a remote team, none of us work at HQ. A couple of us do the unconventional schedule thing. Make ourselves readily available pretty much all the time, will work whatever hours seem to make sense to get the job done. Another guy, he is more of a 8 hour a day, 8:30 - 5:00 guy. He'll put in some extra hours when it feels really needed and always pulls his weight but has decided this works for him and gives him what he wants in life. He actually doesn't even own a cell phone.

Thats the great thing about it...it gives you more options. You get to determine what works best for your life. Several of us here say its better. In my job, i'm going to need to bust my butt no matter what on a regular basis. Gone are my days of staying in the office til 2am to finish a project, not seeing my kids at all on days when the work is just too much, having to explain to my husband that i can't be home for dinner for the third or fourth night in a row.

People having more options and finding what works best for their own families is better for society as a whole. If I really thought that Yahoo couldn't make it work with remote employees....i wouldn't care so much. I just don't believe that to be the case so find it a shame and bad for society that a big, albeit suffering, name would send out a message that it doesn't work. A big name that, by the nature of its identity and industry, has to be in touch with modern day lifestyles. Just doesn't make sense to me.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

"Potter75" wrote:

I don't know that I would count all those extra hours of work on non work time as a good thing for workers, as a generality, however. The US is the most overworked, least vacationed nation of all industrialized countries. I think that all of that "be available always around the clock etc" stuff leads to burnout, dissatisfaction, and families suffer more than they benefit, especially as it doesn't seem to be tied to higher wages or better compensation in most cases.

american workers work more hours - Google Search

I have to agree with Melissa on all of her points on this. My cousin (woman) is an MD. Her husband (PHD) is the one who stays home with the kids, homeschools the kids, and is the one who takes them places. If you were to go to other Homeschooling forums that I go to you would find a fair amount of SAHD's. The fact that it is more common for woman to stay home does not mean this is a woman issue or a man issue. I also do not think it is necessarily more healthy for society to work all the time. When DH is with our kids, I want him to actually be here not busy still working. Are their benefits from working from home? sure. Are their drawbacks? yes. I do not believe one way is clearly more beneficial than the other and stopping the practice does not make Yahoo a bad company. I personally think there is great benefit (when I worked before kids and for DH now and other people I know well who work from home.) to be able to come home at the end of the day at the office and leave work at work. Again, I do not think working from home is always bad, but I do not think it is wrong or bad of a company to not offer this option.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Yeah. At the end of the day I guess I've really said all I can say on this one and my mind isn't open to being changed, so I guess I've come to the end of what I can say Smile I do think that its BS that a woman is held to a different standard, and that judgments are being made about how or why she succeeded (for instance, I don't think that her maternity is anyones business, and I'm not willing to relegate her success to this "mans world" business.) I think that she got to where she is by being smart, tenacious, innovative and hard working. I think that its sad that that isn't enough, because she has a vagina. She is also held to a standard of being some world changer. I'd say that just doing her job is hard enough, and I will personally hold her to the same standards I would a man, because to not would be sexist of me. Personally I think that all the faux outrage and meaning seeking in this is more than a little silly, unless of course one works for Yahoo or is personally affected by this.

I love this article.

Cigars and Policy Changes: in support of Marissa Mayer and Jackie Reses

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes a policy change is just a policy change. And to attribute larger societal meaning is misguided and, well, you know, not smart.
Ending telecommuting at Yahoo! isn’t a new skirmish in the “mommy war” as USA Today proclaims.
Ending telecommuting at Yahoo! isn’t a frontal attack on GenX and GenY as countless bloggers are screaming.
Ending telecommuting at Yahoo! isn’t a stake in the heart of workplace flexibility as SHRM believes.
Ending telecommuting at Yahoo! is a bold decision by a bold CEO trying to turn her business around.
I’m a business leader. I get it.
I get it that when you’re turning around a business you frequently have to make decisions that are unpopular.
I get it that when you make decisions to support your strategic plan others will assign meaning that was never meant.
I get it that you may have to make decisions that will change the culture in big ways.
I get the panic stress you feel when you decide to that cultural change is required and that decision will potentially put good people at risk.
I’m a business leader. I get it.
Turning around a business isn’t for sissies of either sex. Ask Carly Fiorina and Mark Hurd and Meg Whitman.
The current brouhaha over Yahoo!’s decision to bring the field back home and end telecommuting is out of control. The HR community, in particular, is totally wound around the crankshaft over this decision. The cries of “foul!” are everywhere in the Twitterverse, the Blogosphere, old media and new media, radio and television.
And I understand the concern, although some of the hysteria is a little hard to take. Workflex, as SHRM and the Families and Work Institute call it, is a boon for working mothers and fathers, a requirement – we’re told – for hiring and retaining GenX and GenY, and a central plank in improving engagement. Their data is solid. I get it.
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.
I give Mayer and Reses big time credit for stepping up to the plate and swinging for the fences. I saw the memo. It said that the time for focusing on speed, communication, collaboration and quality is at hand. And in the CEO’s judgment, that means being physically together in hallways, work spaces and cafeterias.
They’re turning a business around, people! And that’s intense work. It requires all hands on deck. I think Mayer and Reses want – and need – to harness the talent in Yahoo! in ways that keep the focus and intensity high. In an environment where leaders can be hands-on and where communication isn’t delayed one second by distance and physical separation.
Say what you will about the value of engaging your workforce by allowing flexible work arrangements, but doing things the way you’ve always done them and expecting a different outcome is, well, you know, not smart. And no one ever called Mayer that.
Saving a business isn’t about comfort and preferences. It’s about rolling up sleeves and doing whatever it takes to emerge triumphant. And if that means some long-term, previously engaged colleagues decide that the new requirements don’t fit their lifestyle, then they’ll make other plans. That’s tough, for sure. But it’s how things work sometimes. Everyone has choices to make and consequences to manage. I think Mayer is making tough choices and I think she’s prepared for the consequences.
Is this a referendum on workflex? No
Is this an assault on working parents? No
Is Mayer betraying her gender and her generation? No
Will this change the talent management landscape overnight and around the world? No
Is this one CEO and CHRO working together to change a culture’s priorities and save a business? Yes
I get it. So should you.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

Okay i want to keep posting on this topic but...i have to go back to work so this is the last one for now Smile

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I have to agree with Melissa on all of her points on this. My cousin (woman) is an MD. Her husband (PHD) is the one who stays home with the kids, homeschools the kids, and is the one who takes them places. If you were to go to other Homeschooling forums that I go to you would find a fair amount of SAHD's. The fact that it is more common for woman to stay home does not mean this is a woman issue or a man issue.

Sorry Bonita, i disagree with you. My husband was a SAHD by choice for a few years and I know that its way more common than it used to be. Just because its more common than it used to be doesn't mean we have come close to the moment of equality yet. If that were the case, women wouldn't still be making less than men...and I wouldn't be asked by a VP of Engineering if i'd ever consider a less intense job due to my family and my father wouldn't have tried to talk my husband out of choosing to be a SAHD. No we aren't in the mid 20th century anymore...but if you think for one moment that the pressure overall in society to balance home life with work life isn't more on the female than the male? You are sorely mistaken.

I also do not think it is necessarily more healthy for society to work all the time. When DH is with our kids, I want him to actually be here not busy still working.

But thats what I'm doing when i'm with my kids. Being with them. I took Nathalie to dance...i wasn't working. In my alternative world, i would have been at the office while she was in aftercare.

As for if its healthy to be working all the time? Maybe not, but its been that way long before telecommuting became possible. Like i said if i didn't put it 50 hours at home, i'd still be pressured to do it at the office instead.

Are their benefits from working from home? sure. Are their drawbacks? yes. I do not believe one way is clearly more beneficial than the other and stopping the practice does not make Yahoo a bad company. I personally think there is great benefit (when I worked before kids and for DH now and other people I know well who work from home.) to be able to come home at the end of the day at the office and leave work at work. Again, I do not think working from home is always bad, but I do not think it is wrong or bad of a company to not offer this option.

Thats all I'm saying, is that there are pros and cons to it, much like there is to being in an office. Some people will prefer one over the other. Some people will be happier and consequently their family will too in one situation or the other. Our society should value and respect our desires to balance work and family. Unnecessarily taking away options for people to do that is not a positive for society.

And RE the bold specifically...like i said, i have a remote employee on my team who does just that. Leaving your work at 5pm everyday is not mutually exclusive with telecommuting. You can make it what you want it to be.

Okay, be back later!

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

I don't think this is a poor decision because she is a woman. I think it is a poor decision in general. People who telecommute generally like it. Even having flexibility at work is a huge thing that I had at my old job that I don't have here. I was way more willing at my old job to give a little extra to them than I am now because of that lack of flexability. In situations I've seen where people have lost flexibility at their same job, they get pretty cranky. I would think changing telecommuting would be worse. People have set up their lives based on that (kid activities, where they live). I think they will have a lot of unhappy employees.

If my husband could work from home all the time,it would save him 2-3 hours/day commuting. If he did all the time though, we would have to change where we live to a place with a office with a door. I could not work from home.

This kind of reminds me about working on a project with an old doctor and him complaining about the young medical students not wanting to work long hours and them wanting to have a life outside work. When one parent stays home (traditionally the mom) the other parent has the flexibility to focus on their career. However, now even that one working parent wants to spend time with their kids. 30 years ago, not so much.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I just wanted to say too that I don't think anyone is arguing that everyone should work from home or work on their blackberries all day and all night. Personally, that is an environment that works very well for me and thusfar (have been doing it for about 6 years) I haven't really dealt with burnout because, again, the flexibility that I get in return allows me to make a schedule that works for me and I love that. But if it doesn't work for someone else, that's fine too. We don't all have to be the same. I just think that when feasible, it's better that companies offer the choice. Obviously it won't be feasible in many jobs. But in jobs where it is feasible and was previously offered, I think it's a bad move to take it away. Some of us love it enough to gratefully work longer hours for less pay just to have the choice, so keeping that choice for those of us who feel that way seems like a win win to me.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

"Danifo" wrote:

This kind of reminds me about working on a project with an old doctor and him complaining about the young medical students not wanting to work long hours and them wanting to have a life outside work. When one parent stays home (traditionally the mom) the other parent has the flexibility to focus on their career. However, now even that one working parent wants to spend time with their kids. 30 years ago, not so much.

I think it's great that people want to spend time with their kids instead of dedicating their lives solely to their jobs. The kids are going to benefit, and so do the parents, I think. I have three friends who are doctors. One chose to specialize in a surgical specialty so he's in the clinic two days a week, he's in surgery two days a week, and he teaches one day a week. He's home most nights for dinner and he can schedule vacations with his family without needing to arrange backup or having patients ticked off because he missed their procedure. My other two friends chose to join an HMO, so they have a regular schedule and they know well in advance what evenings, weekends, and overnights they will be working. And hospital shifts are coordinated with their clinic schedules so they aren't overworked, and when their shift ends, they can go home unless they're dealing with an emergency. They all love that our "modern thinking" about work allows them to actually have a life with their kids & spouses in addition to a dedicated medical career.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Potter75" wrote:

Yeah. At the end of the day I guess I've really said all I can say on this one and my mind isn't open to being changed, so I guess I've come to the end of what I can say Smile I do think that its BS that a woman is held to a different standard, and that judgments are being made about how or why she succeeded (for instance, I don't think that her maternity is anyones business, and I'm not willing to relegate her success to this "mans world" business.) I think that she got to where she is by being smart, tenacious, innovative and hard working. I think that its sad that that isn't enough, because she has a vagina.

I'm not holding her to a different standard. I would say its a bad decision no matter who made it. If you don't want me to acknowledge that its unfortunate for someone to put roadblocks in front of their own group of people...i can't do that. Why is it objectionable to note that? I think that is a very natural reaction. For example if someone IN my family did something to hurt my family....that feels more objectionable than if someone outside my family did so. Both would be wrong, but one would sting more than the other.

As for her success, of course she has to be smart tenacious innovative and hard working to become a CEO. But I also think its fair to acknowledge that a lot of the time that isn't enough when you are a woman. I'm simply pointing out that she probably had to sacrifice some things in her life that men don't typically consider or feel pressured to consider to the extent women do. I think the maternity leave thing demonstrates that. And thats fine if thats what she wants to do, but you know...maybe her career path has given her a perspective on the life work balance issue that lots of people just don't share. I could see in her position that it would seem pretty clear that if you want to be successful, you should just have to give those things up. And if thats the case, then work/life balance isn't going to be important to her and she won't see the value in helping her employees with it either.

She is also held to a standard of being some world changer.

Not a world changer, thats an exaggeration. But I think a lot of women have a desire to see a woman who actually has some hefty influence help further women's success. People would like to think, if anything could help a disadvantage group...it would be getting more of those in that group in influential places. Would you not think that? So when you see an opportunity of that nature and feel like its actually the opposite thats happening...why should people not talk about it? Its discouraging, i think people are allowed to feel discouraged.

Personally I think that all the faux outrage and meaning seeking in this is more than a little silly, unless of course one works for Yahoo or is personally affected by this.

Maybe you feel its faux, but i certainly don't. I see work life balance as an issue that affects me, i see the disadvantages that face women in the workplace as an issue that affects me...and i see this decision affecting both of those things, therefore its important to me. I'm a working woman, and the larger bread winner in my dual income family. Should other groups that face obstacles only raise their voices when they are the ones being directly affected? I don't think so.

I actually find it frustrating to think that someone wouldn't think this is disappointing simply because they aren't the ones directly affected.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I just deeply disagree with you that this is a decision which impacts women more than men and I disagree with you- you clearly ARE holding her to a different standard because of her gender.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Potter75" wrote:

I just deeply disagree with you that this is a decision which impacts women more than men and I disagree with you- you clearly ARE holding her to a different standard because of her gender.

I don't see how you could argue that the availability of work at home/flex schedule jobs doesn't affect women more than men...if you actually take into consideration what the real world is like, and what pressures women face compared to men. Not an ideal world...the real world.

And fine if you want to get technical, i'm holding her to a different standard in that it does disappoint me more. But the main thing...whether i view it as a good decision or a bad decision would be the same whether she had a vagina or not.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Because I view a family as a whole, because I don't think that mothers are more responsible for their children than fathers are, and because the argument tha women like to telecommute because they get more time with their children is equally true of men. And frankly I don't think that a CEO trying to turn her company around is focused on letting her employees "have it all" like attending that soccer game or driving kids around during the work day. She is saying that we as a company need to refocus on our company- based on internal statistics that show weakness in the telecommuting arena- and it's her right to do so.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Potter75" wrote:

Because I view a family as a whole, because I don't think that mothers are more responsible for their children than fathers are,

And you feel that your view reflects society as a whole today? We've acheived equality in that regard?

and because the argument that women like to telecommute because they get more time with their children is equally true of men.

My argument is NOT that women like it more than men or enjoy spending time with their kids more than men. My argument is that women are still pressured more than men to make work and career sacrifices for their family.

And frankly I don't think that a CEO trying to turn her company around is focused on letting her employees "have it all" like attending that soccer game or driving kids around during the work day. She is saying that we as a company need to refocus on our company- based on internal statistics that show weakness in the telecommuting arena- and it's her right to do so.

I think employee satisfaction should always be a consideration because it benefits your company. And like I said, if the choices are "No telecommuting or go bankrupt" then obviously there is only one choice. I'm saying I believe there were more choices than that. You can overhaul your telecommuting policies without removing them completely.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I just wanted to say too that I don't think anyone is arguing that everyone should work from home or work on their blackberries all day and all night. Personally, that is an environment that works very well for me and thusfar (have been doing it for about 6 years) I haven't really dealt with burnout because, again, the flexibility that I get in return allows me to make a schedule that works for me and I love that. But if it doesn't work for someone else, that's fine too. We don't all have to be the same. I just think that when feasible, it's better that companies offer the choice. Obviously it won't be feasible in many jobs. But in jobs where it is feasible and was previously offered, I think it's a bad move to take it away. Some of us love it enough to gratefully work longer hours for less pay just to have the choice, so keeping that choice for those of us who feel that way seems like a win win to me.

I am not saying working from home is not a wonderful option for some people. I am saying Yahoo is not a bad company if they chose to not offer that option. I am not going to run out and boycott Yahoo because they make a decision to have all of their employees work from an office.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I am not saying working from home is not a wonderful option for some people. I am saying Yahoo is not a bad company if they chose to not offer that option. I am not going to run out and boycott Yahoo because they make a decision to have all of their employees work from an office.

I'm not going to boycott them either. *shrug*

One can think something is a bad decision without thinking its the end of the world or rooted in pure evil.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"KimPossible" wrote:

And you feel that your view reflects society as a whole today? We've acheived equality in that regard?

My argument is NOT that women like it more than men or enjoy spending time with their kids more than men. My argument is that women are still pressured more than men to make work and career sacrifices for their family.

I think employee satisfaction should always be a consideration because it benefits your company. And like I said, if the choices are "No telecommuting or go bankrupt" then obviously there is only one choice. I'm saying I believe there were more choices than that. You can overhaul your telecommuting policies without removing them completely.

i can only speak for my family and my friends- but yes- at least in my little bubble- absolutely. For us my decision to stay home was easy ~ I wanted to, I had enjoyed my career but we both worked 50+ hours/week and I wasn't willing to put my kids in daycare that much, and we could afford it. I guess I don't know what you mean when you speak of equality in that regard. That is a decision between husband and wife- not society. Families have the choice what to pay on a house, where to live, what to prioritize, how to set up their work situation. Maybe I don't know what you mean. If women are pressured more than men to make these decisions you speak of, I blame their husband or the balance of power in their marriage., not society.

-as to the last bit- perhaps this is a temporary thing. Perhaps it's not. I do agree that employee satisfaction and feeling valued are not only important, but integral. I also don't discount the validity of short term discomfort or change for long term success. I've never argued that this is for sure a great thing- I've acknowledged that its a risk and that they may lose talent. I also believe that is may make a positive change to their company.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

So, it recently came out that she built a nursery off of her office for her new baby..something that I'm sure the other employees do not have access to. How do you reconcile that with telling people who took a flex telecommuting job that you have to come in the office?

Melis~I know what Kim is saying. My husband and I are 50/50 most of the time. He is home with the girls, on his own, 2 days a week and has been since I returned from maternity leave with Elizabeth. For me, the expectation is from outsiders or society if you will. Her school, our parents etc. because that was the norm for most people. Mom comes to pick them up when sick, mom comes to the school for activities (she had a school thing yesterday....no dads just moms). I don't get heck at work if I have to take a day to stay home with a sick kid but he'll hear it at his office. Is it fair..nope. Is it stupid...yep but it's still there. I do believe it is changing but we're not there yet. I think she has too many perks as the CEO to fully understand what she is making people give up.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"Jessica80" wrote:

So, it recently came out that she built a nursery off of her office for her new baby..something that I'm sure the other employees do not have access to. How do you reconcile that with telling people who took a flex telecommuting job that you have to come in the office?

Melis~I know what Kim is saying. My husband and I are 50/50 most of the time. He is home with the girls, on his own, 2 days a week and has been since I returned from maternity leave with Elizabeth. For me, the expectation is from outsiders or society if you will. Her school, our parents etc. because that was the norm for most people. Mom comes to pick them up when sick, mom comes to the school for activities (she had a school thing yesterday....no dads just moms). I don't get heck at work if I have to take a day to stay home with a sick kid but he'll hear it at his office. Is it fair..nope. Is it stupid...yep but it's still there. I do believe it is changing but we're not there yet. I think she has too many perks as the CEO to fully understand what she is making people give up.

Those people presumably already have their children in school or daycare, so I don't understand why her having a nursery built has anything to do with other workers? If the other workers are trying to work full time remotely and care for their children at home at the same time I see her point! I guess my husbands company is just different. When he had to take off because of my broken hip, or because of our recent issues with our baby it was no problem. Our preschool has equal Mom events and Dad events (for instance, next week they have Daddy night at school where the kids and Dad go to school and they have fun events/Dad centered things, which they don't do with Moms, but they do have a mothers day tea.) One of my best friends is divorced and they have joint custody of their three kids 10 and under. They trade off by week. While she USED to be the one to do everything (pick up a sick kid etc) he now does it on the weeks that he has the children. That is a choice ~ who goes. Men and women work in the same industries ~ it is silly to believe that a Man can't, as a general rule, take a day off to care for a sick child or leave the office to pick up a sick child. They can if women can! Its a choice.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"KimPossible" wrote:

I'm not going to boycott them either. *shrug*

One can think something is a bad decision without thinking its the end of the world or rooted in pure evil.

Yeah, this. I'm not planning on boycotting them either, I just think it's a poor decision.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Dear Marissa,
Whoa, girl! You really know how to drop a bomb. Everyone is still talking about that HR memo. I'm sure you're like, "Hey can we move on and start making some money now, people?!"
I'm totally with you, Ms. Mayer. Totally! I mean, we really need to tighten things up around here, get those lazy butts in seats. I'm a little bummed that my view of the parking lot will now be blocked by the guy across the hall -- the one with the sweet window office -- who hasn't been in for the last six months. But if innovation comes without access to direct sunlight, then I won't complain. I am ALL in!
Let me also just say that I think those who've dubbed you "the Stalin of Silicon Valley" are completely out of line. I mean, that's an insult to Stalin. He was way, way worse than you are. And, really, is being forced to work in your office really like the Great Purge? At least we get free lunch at Yahoo. Am I right? If we were face-to-face right now, we could fist-bump to that one.
Now that we'll all be in the office, we can fist-bump all the time!
There's just one thing I wanted to ask you about. It's a family issue. And I know how important family is to you because you built an on-site nursery for your son -- who, by the way, is adorable and SO smart. Just like his mom!
So here goes: I'm a solo single parent. I have a 6-year-old daughter who I adore probably as much as you adore your son. You've totally inspired me to become a CEO, though, so I can bring her to work and have her privately schooled on site while I work.
But until that happens (you can laugh at THAT idea now!), I sometimes have to work from home when she's sick. She's a pretty healthy kid, though, so I promise it won't happen too much. Seriously, I can count on one hand how many times she's missed school in the last two years. And as long as her fever isn't too high, I can usually dose her with Tylenol long enough to make it into the office for a few hours before the school nurse calls demanding that I pick her up.
I will definitely use the company's backup child care option, but -- and I hate to complain -- it gets expensive. And when yours is the only income, child care really adds up, not to mention sometimes a sick kid just wants to be with her mom.
Also, I occasionally volunteer in her classroom. Research shows that kids whose parents participate in their learning do better in school. I know you're a data-driven decision-making kind of gal, so you can appreciate that one. Virtual fist-bump!
And just so you know, I'm a pretty decent performer. I'm actually one of those people who's in the office every day, not one of those slackers you're hoping to drive out of the fold. I actually like coming to work!
So I'm hoping you might make exceptions to the new policy in cases like these. And if not, then I get that too. We working gals can't sacrifice getting ahead to take care of family needs, can we? So if keeping my job means my daughter has to raise herself, I am ready to take that for the team!
Thanks for listening, Ms. M!
Yours truly,
*An imaginary Yahoo employee

The bolded seems to be the fictional employees main point. Can I ask ~ why doesn't the employee take a sick day? If her daughter has literally been sick less than 5 days in two years, what is the big deal? I mean, presumably this is a fictional salaried employee as I haven't heard of hourly employees telecommuting. Yahoo is a publicly traded company. When I worked for Citi, I had 3 weeks of vacation, 3 personal days and 2 floating holidays (or something very close to that, I could be off a day or two).

Taking a day off to take care of a sick child is part of having children, IMO.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

and Were you just speaking about yahoo as I am paid hourly and telecommute.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Potter75" wrote:

The bolded seems to be the fictional employees main point. Can I ask ~ why doesn't the employee take a sick day? If her daughter has literally been sick less than 5 days in two years, what is the big deal? I mean, presumably this is a fictional salaried employee as I haven't heard of hourly employees telecommuting. Yahoo is a publicly traded company. When I worked for Citi, I had 3 weeks of vacation, 3 personal days and 2 floating holidays (or something very close to that, I could be off a day or two).

Taking a day off to take care of a sick child is part of having children, IMO.

Cecilia has conjunctivitis, woke up with it yesterday morning. Told my boss that she was staying home and that I'd take a sick day. I also told him that I'd probably squeeze in some work anyway. He told me that it was close to the beginning of the pay period, and week and he said if i end up logging 36 hours over the course of the week anyway to not bother taking the sick time.

She will be on antibiotics for 24 hours by 11am today and I'm getting her back to daycare right then and there so i can actually work without distraction.

But yes in general, I agree, people should take sick time if they are home with little ones.

I dont' take sick time when the older kids are home sick.

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

If her child has only been sick a handful of times in the last 2 years then yes, taking a sick day here and there is not a big deal.

Like I said, my problem is when it is more than that. 20 sick days between 2 kids plus 6 days due to weather in 5 months. There are also issues with deadlines for myself and my husband. I would have quit by now if my husband wasn't able to shift his hours and stay home most of those days.

I don't usually experience mom (parent?) guilt about working. They have a far better time at daycare than home with me because no matter what I have planned, I cannot keep up with the excitement of 5+ kids 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I feel horrible on days when they wake up feeling lousy and if I was still a SAHM, I would have cancelled our plans to go out/had a low key day wih lots of rest. However, unless there is vomitting or a high fever I still drug them up and send them because I have no more days to take. I would rather take a day without pay or make up the time in then evening then send them to daycare on those days but it is not an option.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"Danifo" wrote:

Like I said, my problem is when it is more than that. 20 sick days between 2 kids plus 6 days due to weather in 5 months. There are also issues with deadlines for myself and my husband. I would have quit by now if my husband wasn't able to shift his hours and stay home most of those days.

Yeah i have 6 sick days total a year. I could really easily go over the sick day limit in a year. If i was working in an office...i'd be coming into the office sick as a dog due to lack of sick time.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

"Potter75" wrote:

The bolded seems to be the fictional employees main point. Can I ask ~ why doesn't the employee take a sick day? If her daughter has literally been sick less than 5 days in two years, what is the big deal? I mean, presumably this is a fictional salaried employee as I haven't heard of hourly employees telecommuting. Yahoo is a publicly traded company. When I worked for Citi, I had 3 weeks of vacation, 3 personal days and 2 floating holidays (or something very close to that, I could be off a day or two).

Taking a day off to take care of a sick child is part of having children, IMO.

For those of us who have project-based jobs, taking the day off is sometimes NOT an option. If I was a single parent and my child happened to get sick on the day or two before a filing, or on the day I've scheduled a multi-party conference call, there's no way I could just call in sick. This kind of work sometimes needs to be done on a particular day. Hopefully as a single parent I would have backup for my backup to cover situations like this, but at the same time, a sick kid usually wants mom, not a sitter. My DH is a stay-at-home parent and I still sometimes telecommute when the kids are really sick because they want *me* not even him.

Joined: 05/13/02
Posts: 414

I was thinking about this debate today. My kids had a snow day and we ended getting about 12" of snow. Now my kids are older, and since dh works nights there was a parent home. But I still had to go into the office. The weather turned nasty by about 9:30, and they decided to close the office early. So many people came in even though the forecast was awful, and then we were back on the roads during the worst of it. If we had the option to work from home, it would have been a much more productive day for many of us.

bunnyfufu's picture
Joined: 10/21/05
Posts: 203

"mommydearest" wrote:

I was thinking about this debate today. My kids had a snow day and we ended getting about 12" of snow. Now my kids are older, and since dh works nights there was a parent home. But I still had to go into the office. The weather turned nasty by about 9:30, and they decided to close the office early. So many people came in even though the forecast was awful, and then we were back on the roads during the worst of it. If we had the option to work from home, it would have been a much more productive day for many of us.

I am so thankful to not work or live in a large metro! I lived in Chicago for a bit and it is really beastly to get around in when the weather turns bad.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"Spacers" wrote:

For those of us who have project-based jobs, taking the day off is sometimes NOT an option. If I was a single parent and my child happened to get sick on the day or two before a filing, or on the day I've scheduled a multi-party conference call, there's no way I could just call in sick. This kind of work sometimes needs to be done on a particular day. Hopefully as a single parent I would have backup for my backup to cover situations like this, but at the same time, a sick kid usually wants mom, not a sitter. My DH is a stay-at-home parent and I still sometimes telecommute when the kids are really sick because they want *me* not even him.

Out of curiosity what would you do if you had a death in the family or a child in the hospital? You really have ZERO flexibility on certain days? I guess I can't imagine the pressure of that situation working for someone with a family at all, you know? I get it that things happen ~ My husband travels almost weekly and for almost the past two years has been away at school (overnight) every other friday and saturday, so there has been a TON of juggling that has had to happen (i.e not scheduling traveling too close to the end of my pregnancies lest he miss our kids birth, or dealing with emergencies like a grandparents death from out of town, or my broken hip (I feel like I bring that up a lot, but with kids 5 4 and 2 and me not even able to DRIVE a car for 4 weeks and on crutches for a total of almost 9 weeks it was a massive upheaval in our lives) or our babies recent almost 2 week stretch of unplanned hospital time ~ well, I guess I can't imagine having zero flexibility, or what that actually would look like in an average American family. Am I just unrealistic? I'm not being snarky, it is truly hard for me to imagine.

I guess its also hard for me to imagine that a normal, functional company would say "No! No taking work calls, NO WORKING! Today while your child is in surgery and you are sitting there with nothing to do, you MUST take a sick day.". Again, if I am being utopian give it to me straight, but in my experience with working remote my employer extended that benefit when it benefited them AND me. To me, Yahoo saying all employees must be workplace based does not mean *and in any emergency ever will also have to come into the office. Most employers IMO will react just like Kims did ~ don't take the sick time work when and how you can.

In other words, they are making this decision as a profitability one for them. Its hard for me to imagine that the productive workers who have weathered this change would not be extended grace in the case of weather or family emergencies, or if they had, say, a Dr's appointment far away with a specialist and wanted to work 1/2 day remote. I see that flexibility all the time with my working friends employers, I guess I'm just assuming Yahoo will still employ that same efficient logic?

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

I have been reading about Yahoo, and apparently there was a huge problem with people "working" from home who weren't working. People weren't logging in, people were slacking off, and the ones left at the office were not happy because things weren't getting done.

In my experience, there may be company policies about working from home but when it comes to individuals and their managers, there is flexibility for trusted employees. My company has a "no working from home" policy but it has never been a problem for me or people in my group to do so when needed. It's all about establishing trust and proving that you are really working.

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