“Stop Working from Home,” says Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer

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Last Friday, Yahoo! shocked and angered the masses when it issued an internal memo regarding a new policy that requires its employees who work remotely to relocate to company facilities or quit, effective June 2013. This effort is being spearhead by CEO, Marissa Mayer, and is expected to only affect a handful of workers who work from home full time. However, it is widely speculated that the new mandate will reach as far as those who have made previous arrangements to work from home only one or two days a week.

This is undoubtedly seen as a backwards move in time, especially given that Yahoo! is a global technology “innovator” based in progressive Silicon Valley and run by a new mom. “Dumb! Boneheaded! Proof of inexperience! Major disappointment!” commenters from around the web have been crying out all weekend. Many have cited the countless studies linking flexibility in the workplace to improved moral, productivity, and health, and they are not off base.

Business Insider shed some light on Mayer’s tough decision, citing management and productive issues. A source revealed that, “A lot of people hid. There were all these employees [working remotely] and nobody knew they were still at Yahoo.”The article also calls it a “…layoff that's not a layoff”, meaning that workers who chose not to comply will simply quit and trim some weight off “fat and lazy” tech giant.

Options like the ability to work remotely are attractive perks to top talent. Or, at least that was the case when PayScale.com conducted a “Top Tech Employer Comparison” in early 2012. According to their findings, “Along with stock options and a health club membership, Yahoo employees cited the ability to work from home as one of the top perks of working for the company.” How sad for them that this will all change in a matter of weeks, but is this really a blow to work-life balance everywhere else?

Over the weekend, Huffington Post’s Lisa Belkin wrote in her column:

“I had hope for Marissa Mayer. I'd thought that while she was breaking some barriers — becoming the youngest woman CEO ever lead a Fortune 500 company, and certainly the first to do it while pregnant — she might take on the challenge of breaking a number of others. That she'd use her platform and her power to make Yahoo! an example of a modern family-friendly workplace.”

This quote echoes the expectations many people, both men and women, parents and non-parents alike, who have put on Marissa Mayer the arduous task of being role model and trail-blazer of modern motherhood. Because she is a woman in a high-profile position, she ought to be greasing the works for other women eking their way up the ranks… but is this fair? Is this even right?


Do you think women in power have a responsibility to make strides in feminism and model of perfect work-life balance?

I don't know that I would call Mayer a role model of any sort, because she is very much tangential to the “norm”. Her highly criticized need and urgency to return to the helm of the large tech firm so shortly after giving birth, for example, does not reflect the typical worker's need to take a full maternity leave, as guaranteed by the Family Leave and Medical Leave Act. Given her estimated net worth of $300 million, we can only assume that she has a fleet of extraordinary support staff propping up her home life that most working parents could never afford. 

Why should her situation dictate the needs of other parents who probably lack her wealth and resources?

Furthermore, Marissa Mayer has famously disavowed “feminism” at every turn. Perhaps this is a way to distance her decisions as a CEO from any sort of mandate of how the rest of the world ought to behave.

(The full Yahoo! “No-Work-From-Home” memo can be found on All Things D.

Is it Enough to be CEO of Yahoo! – is Marissa Mayer responsible for saving feminism too? Do you find her to be a trailblazer for working women? How do you feel about companies that changing their work-at-home policies like Yahoo! ? 

Image via Flickr

What do you think?

“Stop Working from Home,” says Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer

Grace Duffy is a Dallas-based Digital Strategist and blogger with a passion for connecting people through technology-- be it to a goal, a solution, or simply with one another. She is a Principal and Co-Founder of Splash Creative Media. Her personal blog can be found a FormerlyGracie.com. She is everywhere you tweet her name (@graceduffy) To learn more about Grace, you can find all of her links and social media profiles on about.me/GraceDuffy ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. dawnhaas says:

    I think this is a step in the wrong direction. It is not treating people equally and, in my opinion, is a way to avoid having direct conversation with those who are abusing the policy. Working from home is not a good option for everyone, but many are able to work from home and be as productive if not more so than when they go into the office. Many times the office can be a distraction with coworkers stopping to have conversations, or longer lunch breaks, etc. Those who work well from home are being penalized for others irresponsibility. I do think its important for each person to identify what they can and cannot do. After a couple attempts, I quickly realized I cannot work with my son at home. He is too much of a distraction and I was not able to get much done. I send my son to daycare each day knowing I will spend less time working if I do so because I get my work done during working hours. This makes my time at home truly time with my family, and I rarely get work distractions.

  2. Munique says:

    I think it depends on the type of job a person has and that person’s personality. Some people NEED to be in an office to be productive, others work better when they feel they can multitask and achieve multiple goals at once…..If your job is blogger, writer, journalist, etc WHY sit in an office with other people and phones always distracting you? Also, when employees who do not NEED to be in the office directly work from home it saves the company and the staff money, it’s also better for the environment- less traffic and carbon emissions….. This is a WIN-WIN!

  3. Sarah Murphy says:

    I am disappointed with her decision. I love working from home. I am more productive and feel that I manager things nicely. With my company’s policy I am required to have a caregiver other than myself at home once the baby is born but is fine. It will still allow me to breastfeed and be close by. The biggest obstacle I face is with communication for those who are in the home office. I am constantly communicating but rarely ever hear from my "coworkers" unless prompted.That I find greatly frustrating that the standards aren’t the same both ways. I am expected to mark my every mood, but at times I would like to tell my boss to look in front of her own face and see who she is really dealing with.

  4. kayla says:

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be home with your child, I’m the same way. It’s so hard to know who you can trust with your child anymore. I’m pregnant with my 2nd now and would kill to have a job I could work from home so I could be with them. What’s stupid to me is there are some single men who get to sit home and do their job and don’t have to worry about any of that stuff but then people who legitimately could use the jobs because they can’t afford childcare can’t get them.

  5. I’d love to work from home and be with the baby all the time. But I’m a homebody and a paranoid, nurturer who wants to make sure my childs safe. The world and people are crazy nowadays.


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