Earlier this week Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, issued an internal memo to Yahoo! employees detailing changes within the company.
The memo detailed changes to Yahoo!’s remote working policy, and it was made clear that remote-working or working from home was no longer a benefit at Yahoo!. The memo itself was a great positive-negative-positive message.
One of those memos where there is a sword ripping through your gut half way through but the smile at the beginning and end is supposed to make everything ok.
Change is Always Inevitable!
There have been many many changes at Yahoo! since Marissa Mayer took up the role of CEO. Three initiatives were mentioned in the memo which have been created at Yahoo! recently, and having read other stories about the internal workings of Yahoo! there have been a flurry of changes overall. Needless to say that Marissa is taking the learnings from Google in to Yahoo!.
Before Marissa arrived at Yahoo! and before the two previous CEO’s it was questioned whether Yahoo! had a plan for the future, whether it knew its own direction. No one knew what they wanted to do or what they didn’t, their share price tumbled low, however, having a tried and tested CEO has brought the share price back up higher than it’s been in 2 years.
With a solid CEO coming on board who doesn’t pull her on her punches, you’d expect change. After all it’s inevitable and I’d expect that the mentality that they’re looking for at Yahoo! is to embrace it rather than fight against it.
Change Can Go Too Far Sometimes
Sometimes, change can go to far. When you have had staff in the seats for years they become accustomed to a way of working and the first sign of change can shake them up a bit. Especially change which could negatively impact their mixed working and personal lives.
I’d hope that Yahoo!’s HR department had done some thorough research in to the productiveness of their work-from-home staff before venturing out on this blazoned attack against them. Some people can be productive at home and other’s cannot.
They really do have good points and knowing the benefits of remote working which I’ll go through in a minute, I can’t help but wonder if this is all a strategic plan inside of Yahoo!. Have they noticed within the company something which outsiders can’t see.
Are the Yahoo! employees who’ve spoken about it, a minority? Have they found the majority of the work-from-home staff aren’t as productive as they might seem? Is this down to bad hiring? We don’t have those answers so it’s hard to assume.
The Benefits of WFH *and* a Good Hiring Process
Notice I mentioned two things above and not one. I firmly believe that the benefits of remote working or working from home hugely out-weigh working within an office (for certain people). Some people love working in an office with a team where they can become active in conversations and decisions and others find absolute productivity in an office in their home with their headphones on.
You can find both types of people with a solid hiring process where more often than not, as long as they have the skills which they need to do the job them becoming hired solely relies on the fit they have with the team. Are they a good cultural fit?
If you’re expected to do a job it’s about getting it done. If you don’t do your job you let someone else down. Here at Obox, we’re a small team. The main bunch of Oboxians are in Cape Town, South Africa with another two of us else where in the world, one in the UK and one in Croatia. But we’re not the only theme company who are doing this, WooThemes and ThemeZilla are just another two who are open to WFH.
Our timezones are vaguely similar and we all know what we’re doing from day to day. We know what needs done and when and how that will affect other members of the team and the business as a whole.
Communication happens via Skype calls, Skype chat, Basecamp, Whatsapp and more. We’re incredibly connected. If larger companies are using these same communication tools I’d find it hard to believe that their WFH staff are less productive than their in-the-office staff.
There are companies like Github and Automattic who have thrived off remote workers and even companies like British Telecom in the UK are presenting WFH as an option.
Have We Been Too Quick to Jump to Conclusions?
Do you think we’ve been too quick to jump on the memo and slate Yahoo!’s decision to cancel all WFH?
I personally think it’s part of a plan internally at Yahoo! and really do feel for those people within it that work hard every single day whilst at home who want the future of Yahoo! to be bright and better than it is now.