Don't Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.
Mar
2013
4

Yahoo! CEO Ends Work-from-Home Policy After Having a Nursery Installed in Her Office


Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer made headlines when, at the age of 37, she became the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She doubled down on the hoopla when, hours after stepping into her new role, she announced that she was six months pregnant. Now, she is making hypocritical headlines by changing company policy to ban working from home. It’s an easy choice, Gawker notes, because Mayer has had a nursery installed in her office, a luxury not available to lower level mother-employees.

Beth Shea of Inhabitots takes Mayer on:

It’s good to be the queen, because apparently she’s a working mother who combines her career with parenting, but her fellow Yahoo! employees do not share this privilege and are now going to be forced to scramble to completely re-orchestrate their lives based on her edict. And due to her salary, $117 million over 5 years, Mayer no doubt has the ability to hire any number of nannies to help take care of her child. Again, a luxury the majority of mothers can’t afford — many of whom earn a paycheck that just about covers their childcare costs, while barely making a profit.

Mayer suggests the unpopular policy shift is necessary because “speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home… we need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

Of course, the same could be said about families but that is lost on Mayer who is only looking out for the bottomline. Beth Shea’s opinion on the matter likely reflects the opinion of many other working mothers:

As a work from home mom myself, I am deeply disturbed at the stress this announcement will cause my fellow parents who report to duty on the home front, and who now have to find an alternative way to balance the fine art of “doing it all” in a society and culture where the “powers that be” behind the workforce don’t want to help moms and dads have both a successful career and a thriving home life in which they are present to raise their children.

Telecommuting can have its pitfalls, to be sure. On the whole, though, it has proven to be an efficient way to work in the modern age. A study from Brigham Young University analyzed data from 24,436 IBM employees in 75 countries:

“Telecommuters balance work and family life better than office workers… [and] they can maintain that balance even while sometimes squeezing in a couple extra days’ worth of work each week.” The lead study author adds, “Managers were initially skeptical about the wisdom of working at home and said things like, ‘If we can’t see them, how can we know they are working?’” But, “Nowadays more than 80 percent of IBM managers agree that productivity increases in a flexible environment.”

Additionally, stats from the Telework Research Center show that there are many positives to telecommuting:

• People are sick of the rat race, eager to take control of their lives, and desperate to find a balance between work and life.
• 95% of employers say telework has a high impact on employee retention.
• 78% of employees who call in sick, really aren’t. They do so because of family issues, personal needs, and stress.
• Teleworkers typically continue to work when they’re sick (without infecting others).
• Businesses lose $600 billion a year in workplace distractions.
• Traffic jams rob the U.S. economy of $78 billion/year in productivity.
• For telework to work, employees must be measured by what they do, not where or how they do it.

IBM, an innovator in the remote work realm, highlights the less-publicized positive effects of the practice on their corporate website:

“IBM was one of the first global companies to pioneer programs to reduce employee commuting. It has sustained these programs for nearly two decades. Two key aspects are its (a) work-at-home program and (b) mobile employees program. Today, more than 128,000 (29 percent) of employees globally participate in one of these programs. In 2011, in just the U.S. alone, IBM’s work-at-home program conserved approximately 6.4 million gallons of fuel and avoided more than 50,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.”

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