Monday, March 25, 2013

Resource Management: Yahoo Got It Way Wrong


Yahoo’s decision to stop letting employees work from home is about as smart as most of the product decisions they have been making lately: Way off the mark.

Was Marissa Mayer hibernating in some cave for the last several years then woke up and said: “Where is everybody?”

They are at home working very well thank you – and if you make them all come back to work every day, you will be losing some of the best resources you have, plus losing out on a very creative way to maximize your employee assets.

Simon Kennedy in a recent blog post on DNA writes: “Marissa Mayer’s decision to order Yahoo! Inc staff to work in the company’s offices runs counter to new research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.” He goes on to quote the National Bureau of Economic Research whose results “showed home-working led to a 13% increase in performance, mainly reflecting reductions in sick days and breaks. The rest was attributed to making more calls per minute thanks in part to the quieter working environment.”

 And this didn't even take into account the fact that people who work from home spend time on work activities well beyond the normal 8 hour work day.

I can understand a leader trying to turn around a company by taking some drastic measures to improve performance. But I think this was a knee jerk reaction based on faulty data. In the long run this will be just one more stupid move Yahoo has made. Yahoo is traditionally 2 steps behind in their marketplace, and apparently they are at least two steps behind in employee workplace trends as well.

I guess, in the end, this decision (along with many others at Yahoo) will serve as great case-study fodder for future MBAs. I would suggest a title for the case study should be: Yahoo: A study in Bad Timing.

Guess they won’t be making next year’s 100 Best Places to Work List.

Read more blogs by Jerry on Toolbox For HR