What were the factors that led to Yahoo’s work from home policy change?

  

Yahoo.docx
Yahoos In-Office Policy Aims to Bolster Morale
When Marissa Mayer took over as chief executive at Yahoo last summer, she confronted a
Silicon Valley campus that was very different from the one she had left at Google. Parking lots
and entire floors of cubicles were nearly empty because some employees were working as little
as possible and leaving early. Then there were the 200 or so people who had work-at-home
arrangements. Although they collected Yahoo paychecks, some did little work for the company
and a few had even begun their own start-ups on the side. These were among the factors that
led Ms. Mayer to announce last week that she was abolishing Yahoos work-from-home policy,
saying that to create a new culture of innovation and collaboration at the company, employees
had to report to work. The announcement ignited a national debate over workplace flexibility
and within Yahoo has inspired much water cooler conversation and some concern. But former
and current Yahoo employees said that Ms. Mayer made the decision not as a referendum on
working remotely, but to address problems particular to Yahoo. They painted a picture of a
company where employees were aimless and morale was low, and a bloated bureaucracy had
taken Yahoo out of competition with its more nimble rivals. In the tech world it was such a
bummer to say you worked for Yahoo, said a former senior employee who, like many Yahoo
insiders, would speak only anonymously to preserve professional relationships. The employee
added, Ive heard she wants to make Yahoo young and cool. Restoring Yahoos coolfrom
revitalizing behind-the-times products to reversing deteriorating morale and cultureis hard to
do if people are not there, Ms. Mayer concluded. That view was reflected in Yahoos only
statement on the work-at-home policy change: This isnt a broad industry view on working
from home. This is about what is right for Yahoo, right now. Yahoo declined to comment
further. On Monday, another ailing company, Best Buy, announced that it, too, would no longer
per-mit employees to work remotely, reversing one of the most permissive flexible workplace
policies in the business world. Inside Yahoo, there has been mixed reaction to the policy
change. Some employees said that they were able to be highly productive by working remotely,
and that it helped them concentrate on work instead of the chaos inside Yahoo. Brandon
Holley, former editor of Shine, Yahoos womens site, said she built the site and signed on bigname advertisers while she and most of her team worked from homes across the country. It
grew very rapidly, said Ms. Holley, who is now editor of Lucky, Cond Nasts shopping
magazine. A lot of that had to do with the lack of distraction in a very distracted company.
The change to the work-at-home policy initially angered some employees who had such
arrangements, and worried others who occasionally stayed home to care for a sick child or
receive a delivery. Reports that Ms. Mayer built a nursery for her young son next to her office
made parents working at Yahoo even angrier. This week, the policy continued to be the topic of
much discussion at the company, as people wondered aloud whether they would lose that
flexibility, said employees who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak
to the media. But for the most part, those employees said, those concerns have been eased by
managers who assured them that the real targets of Yahoos memo were the approximately
200 employees who work from home full time. One manager said he told his employees, Be
here when you can. Use your best judgment. But if you have to stay home for the cable guy or
because your kid is sick, do it. Many of Yahoos problems are visible to people outside the
company. It missed the two biggest trends on the Internetsocial net-working and mobile. Its
home page and e-mail services had become relics used by people who had never bothered to
change their habits. It ceded its crown as the biggest seller of display ads to Facebook and
Google. Its stock price was plummeting. Inside the company, though, there were deeper
cultural issues invisible from the outside. For Ms. Mayers ambitious plans to turn around the
company to work, employees briefed on her strategy said, she believed Yahoo needed all
hands on deck. Jackie Reses, Yahoos director of human resources and the author of the new
policy, is an extreme example of this philosophy. She commutes to Yahoos campus in
Sunnyvale, Calif., from her home in New York, where she lives with her children. Morale was
terrible because the company was thought to be dying, said a former manager at Yahoo, who
would speak only anonymously to preserve business relationships. When you have those root
issues, an employee workforce that is not terribly motivated, it built bad habits over years.
Yahoo has withstood many changes over the years, starting with a turnover of six chief
executives in five years, each with his or her own deputies and missions for the company. This
led to confusion among the workforce about the companys goals and frustration that projects
would be pulled mid-stream by a new chief executive. The company had hired many managers
to oversee new tech products, but the extra levels of management slowed product
development, former employees said. Where Yahoo competes, with companies like Facebook
churning out a new release every single day, there was a lot of bloat slowing down product
decisions, the former manager said. The new policy is the first unpopular big move Ms. Mayer
has made. Yahoo insiders said they did not expect the employee and media outcry that
followed. Employees said that unlike previous chief executives, who focused outside Yahoo, she
has prioritized fixing the company internally and motivating employees. She introduced free
food in the cafeterias, swapped employees BlackBerrys for iPhones and Android phones, and
started a Friday all-employee meeting where executives take questions and speak candidly. A
recent internal employee survey found that 95 percent of employees were optimistic about the
companys future, a 32 percent bump from the previous survey, Ms. Mayer said in a call with
analysts in January. Rsums have begun arriving from employees at competitors like Facebook
and Google, which rarely happened in the past, according to one person briefed on Yahoo
hiring. Since Ms. Mayer made food free, there are now crowds in the cafeterias, lingering to
talk about new ideas, employees sayexactly what she wants to encourage by requiring people
to work in the office. I understand why Marissa Mayer would want to call every-body back into
work, Ms. Holley said. Its kind of a necessary step.
Questions
1. How might the abolishment of Yahoos work-from-home policy influence employee
motivation?
2. Why did employee motivation appear to be low at Yahoo when Marissa Mayer took over as
CEO?
3. What steps has Mayer taken to improve employee motivation at Yahoo?
4. What are the potential motivational advantages and disadvantages of work-from-home
policies from expectancy, equity, and need theory perspectives?

Introduction:

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The decision made by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to abolish Yahoo’s work-from-home policy has sparked a nationwide debate over workplace flexibility. The policy shift affected around 200 employees who previously had a work-at-home arrangement. While some people praised the move as the first step towards revitalizing the company, others expressed concern that it may hurt morale and productivity. The changes were made in response to a culture of mediocrity and the lack of a competitive edge that some employees say afflicts the company.

Description:

The decision by Yahoo’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer, to revoke the company’s work-from-home policy has been a topic of discussion both within the company and in the broader business community. The change in policy was largely seen as a way to create a new culture of innovation and collaboration at Yahoo, as well as to address specific problems within the company, such as low morale and a lack of direction. However, there were concerns that the change might damage productivity and employee satisfaction. Some employees who had previously worked from home expressed disappointment and concern, while others supported the decision, citing the need to restore Yahoo’s position as a nimble, innovative tech company. This article explores the reasons behind the policy change and the reactions it has elicited at Yahoo and beyond.

Objectives:
1. To understand the reasons behind Marissa Mayer’s decision to abolish Yahoo’s work-from-home policy.
2. To explore the impact of the work-from-home policy change on Yahoo’s employees.
3. To examine the debate over workplace flexibility and its relevance to Yahoo’s case.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Describe the factors that led to Marissa Mayer’s decision to abolish Yahoo’s work-from-home policy.
2. Analyze the implications of the policy change for Yahoo’s employees and their productivity.
3. Compare and contrast different perspectives on workplace flexibility and its advantages and disadvantages for companies and employees.
4. Evaluate the effectiveness of Marissa Mayer’s leadership style in addressing Yahoo’s challenges and improving its culture.
5. Develop a critical stance on the role of work-life balance and work arrangements in fostering innovation, collaboration, and motivation in the workplace.

Solution 1:

Implementing a Flex-Office Approach to Bolster Employee Morale at Yahoo

In response to Yahoo’s aimless employees and deteriorating morale, it would be wise to implement a flexible office approach that maintains the benefits of office collaboration while also offering some work from home privileges. By introducing flex-office hours and allowing employees to choose the best time and location to work, Yahoo can restore morale. This approach can also help to reduce the impact of work-related distractions, office politics and noise that are known to affect productivity in traditional office settings.

Solution 2:

Revitalizing Behind-the-Times Products to Boost Employee Morale and Encourage Innovation

In addition to the rigid work culture, Yahoo’s products have become outdated, which has led to a decline in demand for their services. Without necessary updates, Yahoo could lose its market share to more nimble tech firms. Hence, Yahoo should consider revitalizing its backdated products and aim to make them attractive and user-friendly. By doing so, employees will be proud of their products, and this could encourage them to collaborate, share ideas, and feel valued, which will help to restore morale. Yahoo should also listen to its employees’ ideas and suggestions to improve its products and generate new ideas. This will lead to increased innovation, revenue, and growth.

Suggested Resources/Books:
– “Remote: Office Not Required” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
– “The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work” by Scott Berkun
– “Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead” by Laszlo Bock

Similar Asked Questions:
1. What led to the decision to abolish Yahoo’s work-from-home policy?
2. What is the debate surrounding workplace flexibility and the policy change?
3. How did Yahoo’s former in-office policy affect morale and productivity?
4. What is the rationale behind the decision to make Yahoo’s workplace culture more innovative and collaborative?
5. How is Yahoo’s policy change similar to or different from that of other companies with remote work arrangements?Yahoo.docx
Yahoos In-Office Policy Aims to Bolster Morale
When Marissa Mayer took over as chief executive at Yahoo last summer, she confronted a
Silicon Valley campus that was very different from the one she had left at Google. Parking lots
and entire floors of cubicles were nearly empty because some employees were working as little
as possible and leaving early. Then there were the 200 or so people who had work-at-home
arrangements. Although they collected Yahoo paychecks, some did little work for the company
and a few had even begun their own start-ups on the side. These were among the factors that
led Ms. Mayer to announce last week that she was abolishing Yahoos work-from-home policy,
saying that to create a new culture of innovation and collaboration at the company, employees
had to report to work. The announcement ignited a national debate over workplace flexibility
and within Yahoo has inspired much water cooler conversation and some concern. But former
and current Yahoo employees said that Ms. Mayer made the decision not as a referendum on
working remotely, but to address problems particular to Yahoo. They painted a picture of a
company where employees were aimless and morale was low, and a bloated bureaucracy had
taken Yahoo out of competition with its more nimble rivals. In the tech world it was such a
bummer to say you worked for Yahoo, said a former senior employee who, like many Yahoo
insiders, would speak only anonymously to preserve professional relationships. The employee
added, Ive heard she wants to make Yahoo young and cool. Restoring Yahoos coolfrom
revitalizing behind-the-times products to reversing deteriorating morale and cultureis hard to
do if people are not there, Ms. Mayer concluded. That view was reflected in Yahoos only
statement on the work-at-home policy change: This isnt a broad industry view on working
from home. This is about what is right for Yahoo, right now. Yahoo declined to comment
further. On Monday, another ailing company, Best Buy, announced that it, too, would no longer
per-mit employees to work remotely, reversing one of the most permissive flexible workplace
policies in the business world. Inside Yahoo, there has been mixed reaction to the policy
change. Some employees said that they were able to be highly productive by working remotely,
and that it helped them concentrate on work instead of the chaos inside Yahoo. Brandon
Holley, former editor of Shine, Yahoos womens site, said she built the site and signed on bigname advertisers while she and most of her team worked from homes across the country. It
grew very rapidly, said Ms. Holley, who is now editor of Lucky, Cond Nasts shopping
magazine. A lot of that had to do with the lack of distraction in a very distracted company.
The change to the work-at-home policy initially angered some employees who had such
arrangements, and worried others who occasionally stayed home to care for a sick child or
receive a delivery. Reports that Ms. Mayer built a nursery for her young son next to her office
made parents working at Yahoo even angrier. This week, the policy continued to be the topic of
much discussion at the company, as people wondered aloud whether they would lose that
flexibility, said employees who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak
to the media. But for the most part, those employees said, those concerns have been eased by
managers who assured them that the real targets of Yahoos memo were the approximately
200 employees who work from home full time. One manager said he told his employees, Be
here when you can. Use your best judgment. But if you have to stay home for the cable guy or
because your kid is sick, do it. Many of Yahoos problems are visible to people outside the
company. It missed the two biggest trends on the Internetsocial net-working and mobile. Its
home page and e-mail services had become relics used by people who had never bothered to
change their habits. It ceded its crown as the biggest seller of display ads to Facebook and
Google. Its stock price was plummeting. Inside the company, though, there were deeper
cultural issues invisible from the outside. For Ms. Mayers ambitious plans to turn around the
company to work, employees briefed on her strategy said, she believed Yahoo needed all
hands on deck. Jackie Reses, Yahoos director of human resources and the author of the new
policy, is an extreme example of this philosophy. She commutes to Yahoos campus in
Sunnyvale, Calif., from her home in New York, where she lives with her children. Morale was
terrible because the company was thought to be dying, said a former manager at Yahoo, who
would speak only anonymously to preserve business relationships. When you have those root
issues, an employee workforce that is not terribly motivated, it built bad habits over years.
Yahoo has withstood many changes over the years, starting with a turnover of six chief
executives in five years, each with his or her own deputies and missions for the company. This
led to confusion among the workforce about the companys goals and frustration that projects
would be pulled mid-stream by a new chief executive. The company had hired many managers
to oversee new tech products, but the extra levels of management slowed product
development, former employees said. Where Yahoo competes, with companies like Facebook
churning out a new release every single day, there was a lot of bloat slowing down product
decisions, the former manager said. The new policy is the first unpopular big move Ms. Mayer
has made. Yahoo insiders said they did not expect the employee and media outcry that
followed. Employees said that unlike previous chief executives, who focused outside Yahoo, she
has prioritized fixing the company internally and motivating employees. She introduced free
food in the cafeterias, swapped employees BlackBerrys for iPhones and Android phones, and
started a Friday all-employee meeting where executives take questions and speak candidly. A
recent internal employee survey found that 95 percent of employees were optimistic about the
companys future, a 32 percent bump from the previous survey, Ms. Mayer said in a call with
analysts in January. Rsums have begun arriving from employees at competitors like Facebook
and Google, which rarely happened in the past, according to one person briefed on Yahoo
hiring. Since Ms. Mayer made food free, there are now crowds in the cafeterias, lingering to
talk about new ideas, employees sayexactly what she wants to encourage by requiring people
to work in the office. I understand why Marissa Mayer would want to call every-body back into
work, Ms. Holley said. Its kind of a necessary step.
Questions
1. How might the abolishment of Yahoos work-from-home policy influence employee
motivation?
2. Why did employee motivation appear to be low at Yahoo when Marissa Mayer took over as
CEO?
3. What steps has Mayer taken to improve employee motivation at Yahoo?
4. What are the potential motivational advantages and disadvantages of work-from-home
policies from expectancy, equity, and need theory perspectives?

Introduction:

The decision made by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to abolish Yahoo’s work-from-home policy has sparked a nationwide debate over workplace flexibility. The policy shift affected around 200 employees who previously had a work-at-home arrangement. While some people praised the move as the first step towards revitalizing the company, others expressed concern that it may hurt morale and productivity. The changes were made in response to a culture of mediocrity and the lack of a competitive edge that some employees say afflicts the company.

Description:

The decision by Yahoo’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer, to revoke the company’s work-from-home policy has been a topic of discussion both within the company and in the broader business community. The change in policy was largely seen as a way to create a new culture of innovation and collaboration at Yahoo, as well as to address specific problems within the company, such as low morale and a lack of direction. However, there were concerns that the change might damage productivity and employee satisfaction. Some employees who had previously worked from home expressed disappointment and concern, while others supported the decision, citing the need to restore Yahoo’s position as a nimble, innovative tech company. This article explores the reasons behind the policy change and the reactions it has elicited at Yahoo and beyond.

Objectives:
1. To understand the reasons behind Marissa Mayer’s decision to abolish Yahoo’s work-from-home policy.
2. To explore the impact of the work-from-home policy change on Yahoo’s employees.
3. To examine the debate over workplace flexibility and its relevance to Yahoo’s case.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Describe the factors that led to Marissa Mayer’s decision to abolish Yahoo’s work-from-home policy.
2. Analyze the implications of the policy change for Yahoo’s employees and their productivity.
3. Compare and contrast different perspectives on workplace flexibility and its advantages and disadvantages for companies and employees.
4. Evaluate the effectiveness of Marissa Mayer’s leadership style in addressing Yahoo’s challenges and improving its culture.
5. Develop a critical stance on the role of work-life balance and work arrangements in fostering innovation, collaboration, and motivation in the workplace.

Solution 1:

Implementing a Flex-Office Approach to Bolster Employee Morale at Yahoo

In response to Yahoo’s aimless employees and deteriorating morale, it would be wise to implement a flexible office approach that maintains the benefits of office collaboration while also offering some work from home privileges. By introducing flex-office hours and allowing employees to choose the best time and location to work, Yahoo can restore morale. This approach can also help to reduce the impact of work-related distractions, office politics and noise that are known to affect productivity in traditional office settings.

Solution 2:

Revitalizing Behind-the-Times Products to Boost Employee Morale and Encourage Innovation

In addition to the rigid work culture, Yahoo’s products have become outdated, which has led to a decline in demand for their services. Without necessary updates, Yahoo could lose its market share to more nimble tech firms. Hence, Yahoo should consider revitalizing its backdated products and aim to make them attractive and user-friendly. By doing so, employees will be proud of their products, and this could encourage them to collaborate, share ideas, and feel valued, which will help to restore morale. Yahoo should also listen to its employees’ ideas and suggestions to improve its products and generate new ideas. This will lead to increased innovation, revenue, and growth.

Suggested Resources/Books:
– “Remote: Office Not Required” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
– “The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work” by Scott Berkun
– “Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead” by Laszlo Bock

Similar Asked Questions:
1. What led to the decision to abolish Yahoo’s work-from-home policy?
2. What is the debate surrounding workplace flexibility and the policy change?
3. How did Yahoo’s former in-office policy affect morale and productivity?
4. What is the rationale behind the decision to make Yahoo’s workplace culture more innovative and collaborative?
5. How is Yahoo’s policy change similar to or different from that of other companies with remote work arrangements?

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