… it appears I am in agreement with something he wrote recently.
And since I am one of the folks who has benefitted from time to time from this practice, I was quite disappointed to see the announcement … albeit leaked … from Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer.
In short, she said:
YAHOO! PROPRIETARY AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION — DO NOT FORWARD
Over the past few months, we have introduced a number of great benefits and tools to make us more productive, efficient and fun. With the introduction of initiatives like FYI, Goals and PB&J, we want everyone to participate in our culture and contribute to the positive momentum. From Sunnyvale to Santa Monica, Bangalore to Beijing — I think we can all feel the energy and buzz in our offices.
To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.
Beginning in June, we’re asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices. If this impacts you, your management has already been in touch with next steps. And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration. Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.
Thanks to all of you, we’ve already made remarkable progress as a company — and the best is yet to come.
First, let me say I am glad someone did not honor the Do Not Forward requirement at the top of the memo. OK, so it’s probably against lots of legal things … but I was glad for it nonetheless.
Second, can you read between the lines? “If this impacts you, your management has already been in touch with next steps.” Read this: “You better conform or you will be fired.” That’s just what it looks like to me.
Third, Yahoo’s? Seriously? Might I remind you … literary references notwithstanding … of the primary definition of Yahoo.
Yeah, that’ll warm them up to the new idea.
I was, however very happy to see the comment made by WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, who wrote:
For anyone who enjoys working from wherever they like in the world, and is interested in WordPress, Automattic is 100% committed to being distributed. 130 of our 150 people are outside of San Francisco.
Needless to say … my kind of people.
I am not going to make any kind of detailed argument for the idea of telecommuting. Those who have benefitted from the talents of remotely located folks will do a better job of that than I would.
But the surprising entry in this race, at least to me, came from Sir Richard Branson … the man who picked the wrong winner in his reality show years ago … whom I have deemed as anti-women from that choice. Hey, people make judgement calls based on a lot less.
At any rate, he made an excellent argument in his blog for the idea of telecommuting.
To successfully work with other people, you have to trust each other. A big part of this is trusting people to get their work done wherever they are, without supervision. It is the art of delegation, which has served Virgin and many other companies well over the years.
We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.
So it was perplexing to see Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer tell employees who work remotely to relocate to company facilities. This seems a backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever.
If you provide the right technology to keep in touch, maintain regular communication and get the right balance between remote and office working, people will be motivated to work responsibly, quickly and with high quality.
Working life isn’t 9-5 any more. The world is connected. Companies that do not embrace this are missing a trick.
May I point out two statements in particular that caught my attention?
First – “This seems a backwards step …” – and it does indeed. For Yahoo! that is.
Second – “If you provide the right technology to keep in touch, maintain regular communication and get the right balance between remote and office working, people will be motivated to work responsibly, quickly and with high quality.”
Now, far be it from me to cast aspersions on Yahoo’s fine quality … but he is right. The right technology.
And for whatever reason, the thought “Yahoo! does not have the right technology.” flashed through my mind.
Followed closely by the thought “Google is outperforming Yahoo, isn’t it?”
Followed lastly by the concept of Scared Money.