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A retrograde approach? Yahoo orders home workers back to the office

Posted Feb 26, 2013 7:36 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Yahoo has informed its work-at-home employees that they will have to return to the office beginning in June.

A Yahoo memo explaining CEO Marissa Mayer’s new policy, published on the blog All Things D, tells of a need to focus on communication and collaboration, the New York Times reports. “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings,” the memo says. “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

According to the Times, “Yahoo’s policy change has unleashed a storm of criticism from advocates for workplace flexibility who say it is a retrograde approach.” One expert interviewed by the newspaper, San Francisco State University management professor John Sullivan, said Mayer’s conclusion about the benefits of collaboration is right, if the focus is on innovation.

People who work from home are less innovative—but much more productive, Mayer said, citing studies on the subject. “If you want innovation, then you need interaction,” he said. “If you want productivity, then you want people working from home.”

Also see:

Mashable: "Yahoo Responds to Controversy Over Work-at-Home Ban"

ABAJournal.com: “Telecommuters Kept Patent Office at 70% Productivity During Hurricane Sandy”

ABAJournal.com: “Employees Who Work at Home May Pay the Price in Raises and Promotions”

ABAJournal.com: “At 50 Best Law Firms for Women, Policies Allowing Reduced Hours and Telecommuting Are the Norm”

Last updated Feb. 26 to add Mashable link.

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