A little over six years ago, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer issued her edict (well, memo) kiboshing work-from-home arrangements, driving Yahoo! workers back to their desks and sending shock waves that reached far beyond affected employees. Mayer’s mantra was that in order to be “one Yahoo!,” workers needed to be physically connected in the workplace. Her ultimatum ground the notion of telecommuting at Yahoo! to a screeching halt: Get back to the office or don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
With probably more fallout externally than internally, Mayer’s remote work ban generated much criticism (amid some praise) and has continued to draw scrutiny even years later. Whether her move was brilliant or a fool’s errand, one universal lesson to be drawn is that companies need to think critically about whether and to what extent remote work arrangements make good business sense. This is particularly true as the workforce continues to trend away from traditional employment concepts toward freelancing, consultants, and gig workers. More and more workers expect, if not demand, flexibility, including the ability to telecommute for at least some portion of their workweek. With limited exceptions, however, this is privilege not a right. Continue Reading