The furore over Yahoo!‘s new policy of banning employees from working remotely made it to the front page of the New York Times this week. Yahoo! declined to comment for that article, but finally issued a statement about the ban against work-at-home arrangements - making it clear why new CEO Marissa Mayer jumped.
“This isn’t a broad industry view on working from home,” the statement said. “This is about what is right for Yahoo! right now.”
At the heart of the problem, according to a a follow-up NYT report: Some employees have abused the former policy permitting work at home to the point of founding start-ups while being on salary at Yahoo!. That info, according to the NYT, came from some Yahoo! employees talking to the paper anonymously.
The Times said Mayer "is in crisis mode, and believes the policy is necessary to get Yahoo back into shape."
The work ethic at Yahoo among some workers has deteriorated over time, the Yahoo! employees said, and requiring people to show up is a way to keep an eye on them and re-energise the troops.
"If some of the least productive workers leave as a result, the thinking goes, all the better."
Yahoo!’s culture and employee morale have dissolved, say business analysts talking to the NYT, as it has fallen behind hotter tech companies. And those two things are difficult to repair without having employees present in the same place.
Mayer has said many times that one of her top priorities for the company is to recruit the most talented engineers and other employees.
The NYT report points out, "Even if requiring people to show up is the only way to repair Yahoo’s culture, it could result in losing valuable employees."