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This Week’s Controversy: Yahoo edition

Here, at Above the Fold, we embrace whatever working style best fits the company culture that you have created.

Last week, the CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Meyer, started requiring that all Yahoo! Employees that had been telecommuting, now work from the office. While many arguments have arisen about the new policy, some supportive of Meyer’s decision, others are condemning her as a hypocrite. The big question however, is how will this decision affect Yahoo!’s success, and if similar policies, if implemented in your departments are wise.

We frequently discuss the merits of making sure your employees are happy. Whether it be from perks or policies, employee morale is crucial to a company’s success. Many of the dissenters of Meyer’s decision say that the policy is inadvertently sexist. Working mothers who have been offered the ability to stay home and take care of their children, while working a full time job, are going to lose income and/or have to incur an additional expense of outsourced childcare. On the other hand, many believe that the place for work is in the office, and if a working mother was taking care of a child, she couldn’t have been doing her job anyway. 

Here, at Above the Fold, we embrace whatever working style best fits the company culture that you have created. That said, we can’t help but wonder if the decision to stop telecommuting is wise simply because it was an already agreed upon “perk”. Yahoo, a giant in the tech industry, relies heavily on intellectual talent, not unskilled labor. Therefore, their retention and attrition is pivotal to the success of the company and the protection of their proprietary information. Will ticking of their employees have an adverse affect on profit?

In this instance, it seems that the power is now in the hands of the employees. The talent can leave and take Yahoo!’s reputation of a positive place to work with them. Most likely, the best road for Meyer to take would be scheduled staff meetings or other gatherings that promoted the collaboration and interaction she hopes to gain from requiring office hours. It has become apparent, through the media controversy, that there is anger on both sides of the table; Meyer’s cold, hard and fast decision likely wasn’t the way to implement her desired policy.

Like we said, company culture is an internal decision and there is not “wrong” set of policies (unless of course they violate labor laws), however, company culture is built through time, trust and commitment. It appears that none of those things were considered when Meyer took the reins.