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Mayer Terminates Yahoo's Remote Employee Policy

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the gonna-ask-you-to-come-in-on-saaaaaturday dept.

Yahoo! 524

An anonymous reader writes "AllThingsD's Kara Swisher reported and tweeted that Marissa Mayer (CEO since July 2012) has just sent an all-hands email ending Yahoo's policy of allowing remote employees. Hundreds of workers have been given the choice: start showing up for work at HQ (which would require relocation in many cases), or resign. (They can forget about Yahoo advice pieces like this). Mayer has also been putting her stamp on Yahoo's new home page, which was rolled out Wednesday."

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At you desk! (5, Insightful)

tylikcat (1578365) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989647)

Because face time is so much more important that actual work.

Re:At you desk! (-1, Flamebait)

Dr. Tom (23206) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989677)

You negate your own point by being an uneducated moron. "Than", not "that". You probably also used "you" in the subject because you aren't sure if it should be "your" or "youire".

Re:At you desk! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989719)

Youire a genious.

Re:At you desk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989725)

That person probably has a programming job, while you're at home all day correcting people on forums for making typos.

Re:At you desk! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989777)

That's pretty sad. I would hate to see his code.

Re:At you desk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990089)

If you can't spell, you can't code.

Re:At you desk! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990113)

Wrong. Lots of programmers can't spell. Grammar also doesn't matter much since we don't compile this language.

Re:At you desk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990131)

Citations? I've met a lot of people who were poor spellers, who did great jobs in their chosen fields.

Re:At you desk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989743)

"youire"

Pot, say hello to kettle.

Re:At you desk! (1)

swilde23 (874551) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989795)

Silly AC. Everyone knows that Kettles can't talk.

Re:At you desk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989823)

Silly AC. Everyone knows that Kettles can't talk.

Who said anything about talking kettles? You can still talk to them without expecting a reply.

Re:At you desk! (1)

swilde23 (874551) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989861)

FINE Sillier AC

Pots also can't talk

Re:At you desk! (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989839)

Silly AC. Everyone knows that Kettles can't talk.

But hippies tell me that Pod does.

Re:At you desk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990043)

You negate your own point by being an uneducated moron. "You're", not "youire".

Fail grammar nazi is fail.

Re:At you desk! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989711)

Because face time is so much more important that actual work.

I work in a small team where one member of the team works remotely one day a week. There's definitely less feeling of teamwork when he's out of the office despite him being available via IM, email, video conference (though we almost never do that) and phone. There's a big difference between "Hey John, this is weird, can you come take a look at this", and while we're talking it over, Bob in the next cube pops his head over and says "Oh yeah, I saw that yesterday, here's how I fixed it".

Using screensharing and IM/phone just isn't the same.

But some jobs lend themselves well to remote working, like customer service agents. I worked at a company that had almost their entire workforce working from home, we were low on office space so using remote workers saved us a lot of money since we didn't have to rent new office space to accommodate them and we didn't have to have enough desks to handle the holiday rush that would sit empty for the rest of the year. Accountability was easy since the phone system kept the same call statistics for remote workers as for local workers (including time spent answering customer service emails) and the manager monitored random calls to make sure the home worker was professional without any background noises like kids/pets.

Re:At you desk! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989799)

A lot of the level of teamwork is dependent on what the team is comfortable with. I have worked in groups where we would communicate via IM even if we are just over the wall from each other. For me, switching to another window to IM is much less intrusive to my workflow than getting up.

When I'm in an idea generation phase, it is definitely helpful to have people together for that. There is a certain level of creativity that seems to get lost when I can't read all of the physical cues and overall vibes of the conversation.

This. (5, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990169)

I work for a close-knit high-level support group. Our problems are complex and varied enough that I cannot imagine working from home routinely. Nothing beats overhearing somebody in an adjacent cube mumble something about an issue that you dealt with vaguely six months ago, and then you hop up, scrawl something on a whiteboard, and then call over another couple people to check it out with you.

Yes, all this is theoretically possible via IM, (even the sketching, with special equipment), but things like overhearing others, and the instant, high-speed collaboration just isn't possible remotely. (I can talk much faster than I type, and there isn't any concept of "overhearing" a colleague discuss something if you are on other sides of the country.)

Re: At your desk! (3, Insightful)

madprof (4723) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989805)

Remote workers are not as useful for close knit development teams as ones in the office. Sometimes you need to speak face to face. All else being equal, of course.

Re: At your desk! (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990011)

A lot of people are not suitable for remote employment, and a lot of people just aren't capable of involving off-site people. But if you've done it a while, hopefully you've weeded out those who couldn't and shouldn't and are left with good people you wouldn't otherwise have on staff. Doing anything like this without a grandfather clause sounds like chasing away a lot of good people that you've worked hard to find for almost no reason at all. But then I've never had any major issue with corporate suicides, unlike people they don't have any inherent reason to exist.

Re: At your desk! (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990057)

It impacts workers such as customer service reps, who perhaps work from home or an office in another city where Yahoo does not have one

Re: At your desk! (5, Interesting)

XopherMV (575514) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990061)

It's far easier to concentrate and maintain that concentration when you don't have people constantly coming up to your desk and interrupting you. Since it's easier to concentrate, it's also easier to get into "the zone" and stay in "the zone" for a longer period of time. Further, since you don't commute, people who work from home also tend to work longer hours. So, you do more productive work at home for longer periods of time. I'd say people working from home are more useful for close-knit development teams than ones in the office.

Re: At your desk! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990217)

I like how you assume everyone is a developer.

Re:At you desk! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989853)

They are going to need more chairs, MAybe Ballmer can chuck them a few spares

Re:At you desk! (5, Funny)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990189)

You have to give these managers more credit: They are really trying to do the best they can: Having no skills themselves, the only reasonable metric is time spent at work! And Mayer reputedly excels at this. If a remote employee stares out the window, they are definitely not at work in that moment, while a non-remote employee doing the same thing is! So, from their perspective they are clearly boosting productivity.

Just to make sure nobody misunderstands me:
- Time is an unsuitable productivity metric for knowledge workers.
- Working long hours is well known to massively decrease productivity due to significant increases in mistakes and wrong decisions.
- The Dunning-Kruger effect is a lot more pronounced in "leadership" positions as these people often manage to effectively discourage honest feedback.

bullet in the head (5, Insightful)

Yonder Way (603108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989657)

After years of twitching on the gurney, Mayer is finally putting a bullet in Yahoo's head.

Re:bullet in the head (5, Funny)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989693)

The meetings will continue until something gets done around here.

Re:bullet in the head (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990123)

Meetings?

Sounds like meatings.

Re:bullet in the head (1)

Dr. Tom (23206) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989699)

R.I.P.

Re:bullet in the head (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989729)

Is it?

Telecommuting works only when people already have a strong work ethic, meaning years behind an actual desk at an actual office.

If you're a freelancer on the web, working with many clients at once, then, sure, remote works perfectly, but when you're working for a single employer, it means you have colleagues, people you need to interact daily, not just through email, but actual face to face meetings. A lot of ideas are made and improved around the watercooler, and let's be honest, telecommuting cuts down communication by a lot.

Re:bullet in the head (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989765)

telecommuting cuts down communication by a lot.

As far as I'm concerned, that's its killer feature.

Re:bullet in the head (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989783)

Agreed.

Re:bullet in the head (4, Informative)

XopherMV (575514) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990183)

telecommuting cuts down communication by a lot.

As far as I'm concerned, that's its killer feature.

For developers, that's actually a beneficial feature. The best development occurs in "the zone." It happens when you're able to concentrate on the problem for long enough that the concerns of the world fade from your mind. The result is that the code flows out of you. It takes around a half hour to enter "the zone," but just a single interruption to leave it.

What happens in an office? Joe has a simple question he can answer on Google with a simple 1 minute search. What does he do? He interrupts Bill sitting at the next desk to answer this question. Bill was in "the zone," but Joe just threw him out of it. Sure, Joe saves a minute of productivity by asking Bill. But, it'll take Bill another 30 minutes of concentration before returning to the level of productivity he was at before Joe interrupted.

What happens when Joe and Bill telecommute? Joe has a simple question he can answer on Google with a simple 1 minute search. It'll take him a 5 minute conversation with Bill to get the same answer (open his chat window, see if Bill's there, text hi to Bill, wait for a reply, do some small talk, ask his question, wait for an answer, re-explain what he actually meant to ask, wait again for the answer, etc). So, Joe does the Google search instead. Bill never knows there was a problem. Joe loses a minute of productivity doing the Google search. But, Bill continues working in "the zone," not losing a half hour of productivity.

No, a half-hour doesn't sound like a lot. But, that's for 1 question. Spread a few questions throughout the day and Bill may never enter the zone while working in the office.

THAT is exactly why people who work from home mostly report being more productive outside the office.

Re:bullet in the head (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989915)

and let's be honest, telecommuting cuts down communication by a lot.

Does it? I find that increases the amount of traceable and accurate communication. I can't count how much misunderstandings, "misunderstandings" and CYA I have seen due to people relying on facetime. Not to mention priority shifting, because it's much harder to down-prioritize someone who comes to your office. Or when your "just one question" costs half an hour of your time because it takes twenty minutes to get back into where you were after being interrupted.

Yes, I think there are good things about going to the office. But there are good sides to telecommuting too.
I've seen people turn less productive with telecommunting, but I've seen them turn more productive and accurate too. And I don't think it'd down to dicipline, but mindset. Either you're cut out for working alone, or you're not.
I hope those that are at least will get offices with doors at Yahoo.

Re:bullet in the head (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989919)

"Telecommuting works only when people already have a strong work ethic, meaning years behind an actual desk at an actual office."

Clearly you've never worked in an office. Or outside of one, apparently. Work ethic has nothing to do with where you've worked, just how.

Re:bullet in the head (2)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990067)

Telecommuting works only when people already have a strong work ethic, meaning years behind an actual desk at an actual office.

What does having worked in an office have to do with having a strong work ethic? Non sequitur much?

Re:bullet in the head (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990161)

Telecommuting works only when people already have a strong work ethic, meaning years behind an actual desk at an actual office.

+

A lot of ideas are made and improved around the watercooler

So you're suggesting that people put watercoolers onto their desks?

Re:bullet in the head (3, Insightful)

Huntr (951770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989735)

You know, I want to say it's for the best, due to the twitching on the gurney factor, like you say. But, really, it's not. We consumers need good competition to get the best out of these companies and a big player like Yahoo finally biting the dust we not be good for us

I suppose an alternative view is that Yahoo has been wallowing around for so long that the competition has not been there anyway. That might be true...

Re:bullet in the head (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989865)

Yahoo was always a joke you know.

They are one of the ultimate METOO companies..

You have what? Oh we have that. METOO! And they've done a shit job on every bit of it.

Their pages were always crammed with SO MUCH SHIT at a time google was taking over by having the minimalist design.. And they never did learn.

Good riddance to yahoo. It was a good idea but they fucked it up every step of the way on every single thing they offered.

They will forever serve as something important tho. An excellent example of what not to do.

Re:bullet in the head (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990091)

That's really not true. Yahoo started out as the best directory of web content in its time. Then Google came along and people stopped using hierarchical directories in favor of free-form search. I don't even know where you can find directories now, out side of dmoz. Well http://www.dmoz.org/ [dmoz.org] says "powered by AOL Search" and "Copyright Netscape 2103." Hey look at this , Yahoo! still has the directory! Link! http://dir.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] Altavista seems not to.

The Microsoft Connection. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989659)

No surprises. Yahoo partnered with Microsoft and are now just a Bing reseller.

Looks like its time to chase away any employees with anything innovative or of value to offer.

People should relocate to Google (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989671)

Or another search engine and no longer use Yahoo.

Re:People should relocate to Google (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989815)

I think Google prefers its employees to have more self esteem and common sense then you would find from anyone working for Yahoo.

Goal: A whole company of Mayers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989715)

I have a feeling (and it's only a guess admittedly) that this is Mayer trying to stamp her manner of working onto the company. Being present and having a hand in as many different projects as possible is a pretty good way to become a top executive in a company. But if everyone did that, would anything get done? Someone eventually has to get the details right, which is often best done away-from-the-fray.

Re:Goal: A whole company of Mayers? (4, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989889)

I have a feeling (and it's only a guess admittedly) that this is Mayer trying to stamp her manner of working onto the company. Being present and having a hand in as many different projects as possible is a pretty good way to become a top executive in a company.

You're absolutely right. This is very common, not just at the CEO level but at all levels of management. Whenever someone takes over a particular position they immediately begin making all sorts of changes and the reason is simple. If everything works out then they can take all the credit and say "I was responsible for that".

Unfortunately, this mindset frequently results in making lots of changes just for the sake of change. Things aren't better, they're just different. It also frequently results in making lots of changes that actually make things worse.

Re:Goal: A whole company of Mayers? (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990031)

They're peeing all over it to mark their territory.

Just like some coders want to go through code, renaming things, changing the indentation, just to pee on it and mark it theirs. And to totally screw up source control.

Who hasn't seen a DB schema come back identical, just with _everything_ renamed. Some jackhole peeing on it.

She should watch this Ted Talk (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989737)

Jason Fried argues that less productivity happens at the office.

Jason Fried [ted.com]

Re:She should watch this Ted Talk (3, Funny)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989781)

Totally disagree

I work remotely but go to the office as well. It's the only place to trade pirated movies via sneaker net, check out cool YouTube videos people are watching, hit the snobby coffee place with the single brew snobby coffee

Am I forgetting anything?

Re:She should watch this Ted Talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989951)

Torrent bandwidth.

Re:She should watch this Ted Talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989979)

I worked remotely on Thursday and Friday of this week due to snow. It was great, I caught the end of celebrity week on The Price is Right, got several things done on my iOS side-project, and watched half of the second season of Game of Thrones on blu-ray.

Re:She should watch this Ted Talk (5, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990141)

Did you get your work done though? If you did, then it shouldn't matter if you telecommute.

Re:She should watch this Ted Talk (2)

griffjon (14945) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989883)

My previous place had an unofficial no-meetings-on-friday policy, which meant most people worked - productively - from home on Fridays. Tons of flexibility, and it meant we, as a team, kept ahead of the game because everyone used friday to knock out not only the collection of "oh, if only I had time" pieces that collect over the week, but also those "I need 3 hours, uninterrupted, to really dig into this" big-think pieces. No one overly abused it, and the not-infrequent fade out ~4p still meant the week's overall work was more productive than if everyone worked that last, useless hour on Friday.

That being said, we were a globally distributed group, and had already adapted well to well-calendared and well-prepared-for remote interactions over chat, conference calls and video calls.

Yes, you lose out on the hallway-chats, so it becomes important to have some central hub of people, and to make sure that no one sub-team was completely disconnected from the pulse of the office, but it can be done, and done well.

Re:She should watch this Ted Talk (-1, Troll)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989913)

Jason Fried argues that less productivity happens at the office.

Jason Fried [ted.com]

That's his opinion. And he's wrong.

I get lots of work done at work. It's the only place that i work. If you aren't getting work done at work, then you're doing it wrong.

Re:She should watch this Ted Talk (2)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990151)

I get lots of work done at work. It's the only place that i work. If you aren't getting work done at work, then you're doing it wrong.

Yes, because what works for you, works for everyone.

Tax companies for consumed commute resources (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989931)

For Mayer, this is a nice way of creating an illusion of management. And it's a beautiful way of imposing attrition if you don't want to bother with severance pay just as in the good times remote worker flexibility was handed out in lieu of pay increases. But companies which unnecessarily force their employees to pollute the air, add to traffic nightmares, tear up roads, increase health and accident insurance costs for everyone just to create an illusion of management... should pay a tax for this privilege. Call it an a** on seat tax.

yahoo is dead... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989741)

Basically this will just wash out the rest of the rats from the sinking ship. The boat is still going down buddy.

WORD IS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989757)

BITCH !!

In other news.. (1)

mattkrea (2795977) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989761)

And in other news... Yahoo is still not visited by anyone.

but... but... (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989763)

Last time I looked, remote workers seemed to be the wave of the future. Then again, Yahoo's been living in the past for decades.

Re:but... but... (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989819)

Last time I looked, remote workers seemed to be the wave of the future.

Companies that use a lot of "telecommuting" have done it for one reason and one reason only -- they think it will save them money. Fewer offices means less furniture and equipment, utilities, etc.

Re:but... but... (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989981)

But then, do they yahooo?

Yahoo? (1)

G3E9 (2740699) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989769)

What's a Yahoo?

Re:Yahoo? (2)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990159)

What's a Yahoo?

A Yahoo? [yahooserious.com]

The whole "portal" concept is dead. (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989791)

There are some web pages - like the hords of image blogs at Tumblr - that might do fine with this "never ending page scroll" shit, but Yahoo's home page is not one of them, it's just extremely annoying.

Yahoo was at one time a great hotbed of interesting web development technology, but now it's just another shithole like HP than needs to merg with someone who actually has a product and vision, and go the fuck away.

The whole "portal" concept is dead.

Re:The whole "portal" concept is dead. (2)

mspohr (589790) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989891)

I'm not sure that the "portal" concept is dead.
I have an iGoogle portal page that I have open all of the time and I use it many times a day to check news, weather, RSS feeds, webcams to my local ski areas, stock prices, etc. It really is very useful to me.
Now, as you probably know, Google has declared iGoogle to be dead meat and will discontinue the service later this year. I will then probably have to create something similar on my own or find another service. I have looked at the new Yahoo home page and it doesn't look like it will meet my needs at all.
I am a old "get off my lawn" geezer so I may be atypical but I really find a portal page very useful even if Google doesn't think I need it.

I can think of 3 reasons (4, Insightful)

j-stroy (640921) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989809)

First and probably primarily is security holes from supporting remote employees. Yahoo's email seems to have been broadly hacked, so much spam from address books of yahoo addresses. As a CEO, decisive action is made when no one else will speak of the elephant in the room, or assumptions need to be broken to progress.

Second, I have done lots of team work as well as remote work.. the physical interface of people is important for synergy. The problems I have solved by simply walking around the workplace and networking people who sit within 10m of each other are beyond counting.

Thirdly, Yahoo must really be in trouble and this is a sincere attempt to save it. Perhaps time to pay for their premium service.. They could use the cash, and i could use downloading my old emails.

The revenge effect from this decision could be nasty tho.. Security could get worse since some won't go and skills won't get transferred. People who worked remotely may not integrate well and may carry resentment into the workplace and the attempt to save it just might work just enough to drag the brand even lower. Good luck Yahoo! I for one am rooting for you.

Re:I can think of 3 reasons (2)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990145)

The security angle is BS, at least for competent employees and system administration. Just use VPN and dedicated work-laptops. Of course what I have seen from Yahoo, is abysmally bad in that area. They may really have security problems in an area where these have been solved a long time ago.

Re:I can think of 3 reasons (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990157)

I quit reading after "synergy". Buzzwords make me do that. Yes, that includes face to face conversations. You will visibly see me start to use my phone and otherwise purposefully ignore you. And I won't care when you're upset about it. Because you said "synergy" everyone else around me understands and would do the same thing if they had the balls.

Re:I can think of 3 reasons (5, Insightful)

Cyrano de Maniac (60961) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990199)

First and probably primarily is security holes from supporting remote employees.

This is definitely not the case, for one safe-to-assume reason and one from Mayer's memo itself.

The safe-to-assume reason is that Yahoo will certainly continue providing remote access to employees for working from home during off-hours, while travelling on company business, and for employees who are on-call. If you have to provide remote access for even one employee some of the time you have the same set of security considerations as if you provide remote access for all employees all of the time.

And Mayer's memo makes reference to employees exercising good judgement about waiting at home for the cable guy situations. This implies that it is recognized there will always be one-off situations where an employee needs to work from home for a particular day, even if they are not allowed to do so as their standard day-to-day situation. So once again, if you provide remote access for even one, you have all the same security considerations as if you allowed every employee to work from home all the time.

I personally think this is just as some other posters have said -- it's a stealth layoff to avoid paying severance by getting people to quit on their own, and the decision will gradually be reversed (or the policy just not enforced) once the desired reductions have been accomplished.

ObSnark: When did Carly change her name to Marissa?

Management panic in action... (5, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989813)

So, regardless of the success or failure of their business model, (hint: it's a failure), senior management has decided that swimming against the tide will mysteriously lead to better customer service and/or lower costs?

I assume that this move has more to do with reducing variable cost, (payroll), by encouraging people to resign, than actually implementing a well thought-out strategic or tactical innovation. This because if everyone concerned actually turns up to the office, instead of quitting, then costs must inevitably rise. Of course, productivity gains will outpace costs, right? Wrong.

If management cannot manage remote workers today, with clear objectives supported by good processes and infrastructure, what makes you think they will be able to do it with everyone in-house?

Re:Management panic in action... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989897)

That new Yahoo homepage will look good as "The Boss is Coming" tab when management patrols cubicle-space.

Re:Management panic in action... (1)

sehryan (412731) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989987)

I would imagine there is more overhead for remote workers than there is for in-office. For instance, our remote workers come in once every six weeks or so. That is airfare, hotel, and per diem that we are paying that we don't have to pay for in-office folks.

There is also the question of health insurance. I don't know much about this, but it seems like - if these employees live out of state from the main office - that they would need to be using a different health insurance provider than everyone else. I am assuming that would again be at a higher cost than the in-office folks.

I understand the gains of such a set up, but there are costs too, and those costs are usually come in the form of actually dollars spent. For a company whose bottom line is hurting, the juice might not be worth the squeeze.

Re:Management panic in action... (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990107)

Hmm. You could be on to something with the reduction of payroll cost. Of course, it is still grossly incompetent to do it this way, because when done this way the best people will leave and the bottom of the barrel will have to stay on.

Re:Management panic in action... (1, Informative)

div_2n (525075) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990137)

I've managed a team where some people were remote and some local. The amount of additional effort I as a manager had to put into knowing how things were going with my remote reports vs the local reports was not insignificant. Humans didn't evolve with digital communications. The result is that the most effective communication happens in person. Period.

It's not that you can't have an effective team spread out geographically. It's just that it is more difficult and extremely difficult to be as effective as one that works together in person on a daily basis.

And I say this as someone that really really really wants to be able to have a 100% telecommuting job.

Obligatory Dilbert post (4, Funny)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989843)

Can't believe none of the Yahoo leadership has seen this:
http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1995-09-15/ [dilbert.com]

Re:Obligatory Dilbert post (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990059)

The hallmark of truly bad management is making wrong decision in the face of well known facts that make it obvious the decisions are wrong. This is what many incompetents in high positions mistake for "leadership". It comes with vast overestimation of their own skills (which are often pitiful), meaningless productivity metrics (time being the most popular, as it is easy for these "high performers" to clock more of it, which does make them "long stayers", but does routinely _decrease_ their performance, such as it is), an ignorance of the well established basics of good management. The problem is of course that managers are hired by managers and the atrociously bad practices are just perpetuated.

Re:Obligatory Dilbert post (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990195)

My counter point to yours is this one: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1995-02-06/ [dilbert.com] . Snap - same year even...

Feminist outrage (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989873)

The feminist lobby were so pleased that Mayer was appointed and waxed lyrical that now they have a fellow sister in the IT industry finally women in the tech industry will now start to get the rights, privledges and working practices that they think they deserve.

In one swipe she's now going to hit a large section of women who depend on remote access to juggle caring for child/parents and adjusting from maternity leave back into work.

This should be fun.

Re:Feminist outrage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990121)

Children generally require sex with men, and that's just something the feminists would never support. Thus those people will be considered as acceptable losses to the feminist movement.

Sorry, but you're barking up the wrong tree.

Re:Feminist outrage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990177)

not all children are catholic, sir

What will happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989881)

I wonder if her decision will also apply to work being outsourced by Yahoo outside the USA.

Shortsighted much? (3, Insightful)

TigerPlish (174064) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989895)

This is a move I expect out of a non-tech C-level. Like, I don't know, healthcare. "Yes, all employees must be chained to their desks by 0830 because otherwise we can't trust that work is being done."

Stupid, 1950's typewriter-and-adding-machine mentality. "Because that's how it's always been done."

The two most productive and profitable places I've been to not only allow telecommute -- they encourage it, and not for money. Their numbers tell them people do more work of better quality when free to work wherever.

Re:Shortsighted much? (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990005)

Indeed. I am in the happy position that I have only to come into the office for meetings (we have few and always highly effective ones). I can also work whenever I like. My boss tells me that he is very satisfied with my productivity per reported time and the quality of my work. I completely agree that this is not for everybody. But in particular those really capable and with intact professional ethics routinely work better in such a setting. After all, you can come to the office and stare out the window for 8 hours, getting a solid 8 hours on your time-card. But if you only report as work when you actually were productive, not only are you more productive per reported time, you can also work when you are best motivated and able to and in an environment of your own choosing.

Bottom line is that many of the best employees will leave and only those without better prospects will reliably stay. True amateur management.

Re:Shortsighted much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990115)

Whether remote working actually works depends considerably on the nature of the work. If you are mostly working alone, working remotely is fine. If you are mostly working as part of a team, you may benefit from being physically together.

Re:Shortsighted much? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990175)

What if half the team are air thieves and being near them just pisses you off?

And you're not allowed to go and kick HR in the head.

Might not be popular around here (1, Interesting)

sunking2 (521698) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989905)

But I agree with this. This is the first time that I think that Mayer may actually be getting it in that the US workforce has gotten lazy.Yes, this is a broad stroke of the brush, but look at any large project in just about any large corporation and you'll see costs and overruns out of control. I think this is just the first step of her trying to say enough is enough, you people are well compensated, quit acting like spoiled brats thinking you are all so special and get the shit done. This goes for every segment out there, be it government, IT, Defense, you name it.

Re:Might not be popular around here (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989955)

They only right way to deal with this is on an individual basis. If you cannot handle that, it is better to not implement this. There will be quite a few able and willing people that are only at Yahoo because of the remote work policy. All of those can easily leave and many will now, also because of the implied insult to their professional ethics.

Re:Might not be popular around here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990013)

I completely disagree with you. If the work is not getting done then it's the fault of the managers and workers involved. Working from home can make it a little more difficult to communicate effectively amongst a group but it is no worse than working with outsourced personnel in India, Mexico, or any other place.

Marissa Mayer is just trying to apply her style of management to Yahoo and it has nothing to do with the quality of the personnel working remotely.

MM screws up the only aspect of Yahoo that I use. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989923)

Thanks MM for breaking the home page...now its only allowing me the mobile version when using Chrome...Great work there Lou!

Sounding the death bell for Yahoo.... (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989933)

You dont attract the top people to your company by acting like a micromanaging jerk... This lady is proof that it's not your skills but who you know to become CEO.

Stupid (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42989943)

This will just mean those bright and able will look for other employment, while those not so good will stay. And this will not only affect remote workers, as such a step is an insult to their employees and will lower morale significantly. Truly incompetent "leadership" at work, this is a beginner's mistake.

That's assuming... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990025)

..the remote workers are bright.
However, I welcome you to start an IT service company with all your employees working remotely. Good luck.

Sounds typical of the women bosses I've had. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42989959)

In my experience, women care more about how things look than they do about results. It's sad but true.

Yahoo's still around? (1)

Loosifur (954968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990017)

1. I didn't realize Yahoo still existed until I started hearing about this new CEO.

2. She's a little bit Martha Stewart, but still pretty cute (call me!).

3. When I went to the new Yahoo page, I immediately thought, "Oh, shit, how'd I wind up on Facebook?"

4. Remote work often means that you have to justify your billable hours, and that you're on call 24/7. In the office, it's so, so, so much easier to dick around looking up plans for raised gardening beds and writing horror fiction. Not that I'd know anything about that. And inclement weather might prevent you coming in, or necessitate your leaving early. And illness might require that you miss a day or two, etc.

5. They have this weird thing now, it's called teleconferencing. I'd love to tell Ms. Mayer about it some time. Maybe over drinks? Say, this Friday, around 6? I'll be the dashingly handsome yet rugged gentleman in his mid-30s staring winsomely into the middle distance.

Re:Yahoo's still around? (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990153)

Martha Stewart's pretty yummy, you insensitive clod! Not everyone goes for bland identikit 20-somethings... (Exhibit A: the endless niches of internet porn.) BTW I don't suppose you have Hillary Clinton's number?

My spam mail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990147)

Anyone else use an old yahoo address for their 'disposable' email? I use it for newsletters, technology reviews, less-than-trusted contacts, and people I don't want on my primary email. Outside banking, if it needs a password and email, it's getting the yahoo email address.

If I were in her shoes (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990163)

1. I obviously wouldn't screw over the remote workers if they're producing.

2. I'd order all existing pages to go into maintenance mode. No new features. Just maintain existing features and make sure they run in all current browsers.

3. For new spiffy pages, new spiffy URLs. Yes folks, you can have a DIFFERENT URL for new content. Funny how Mayer spent so much time in the biz and doesn't know that.

4. You wouldn't necessarily have to fire people, but at the same time if the people who are fucking up the current URLs are too much staff for the new URL project, then yes they should be let go. Too many web companies are unwilling to reduce staff in these cases. This results in long-time users getting broken pages because they add features to justify their jobs. This problem isn't unique to Yahoo.

Oh Well (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990181)

I was thinking of buying some Yahoo stock based on the idea the Mayer might turn that company around.

Now it is apparent she is not that type of leader.

The Problem with Yahoo! (5, Insightful)

gpmanrpi (548447) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990207)

This is probably a management oversight problem. We will see what becomes of it. It is not Yahoo!'s biggest problem. The problem with Yahoo! is that it doesn't have a point. I think many of us remember when it was a fairly useful directory of websites, and then transformed into a "web portal." I think that still translates to shitty web based AOL clone thing. Now, it seems like there are just a lot of other sites that do each individual thing better. Whether it is Google for search, Gmail for e-mail, tons of news aggregators for news, Pandora/Spotify/Grooveshark for Music, Netflix/Hulu/Youtube for movies and video, etc. Is the new home page better than the old one? I think so. It is much clearer with less cruft. Still at the end of the day if I am a web user why would I want to use Yahoo! for internet dating, when I can use match.com, pof, etc. Yahoo! brand itself doesn't convey anything anymore. It carries no gravitas, it is not associated with quality, speed, clarity, innovation, etc. To be honest, I associate it with spam and compromised e-mail addresses.
If they still want to be a "web portal" they need to really figure out a compelling reason for a web portal. Why should I come to Yahoo.com? What does a web portal do for me that google can't do just as easily? When they answer that question honestly, then they can figure out a way to move forward. Otherwise, they are a prisoner to their past that is not likely to return.
Ms. Mayer seems to see some of the problems. I guess the problem is whether the boat has hit the iceberg or if there is still time to turn?

Stealth Lay-off (1)

jrg (98378) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990209)

This sounds more like a stealth lay-off than some sort of efficiency-promoting move.

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