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Marissa Mayer and Yahoo ’s Twofold Linkbait and Switch

Marissa Mayer and Yahoo ’s Twofold Linkbait and Switch

Marissa Mayer CEO of Yahoo! …

… Is being castigated for her decision to end a work from home policy for Yahoo employees.

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo via Yahoo News

I saw the story from Huffington Post by Lisa Belkin earlier today via friends on Facebook and I’m watching this trend with interest.


…the one place this isn’t trending is on Yahoo‘s newly revamped homepage.

At first glance this kind of story inspires total and utter outrage; especially, if you have ever benefitted from a company who allows or encourages work from home as a policy.

Interestingly Enough …

…The only major change at Yahoo! Since Marissa Mayer took the reins is this revamped homepage:

yahoo homepage

The revamped Yahoo homepage

Most likely in banning work from home at Yahoo! many employees who have until now relied on this policy to make a crust will be forced to look elsewhere.

Mayer has promoted a workforce reduction / cost cutting on salaries, benefits, health care et cetera without being the CEO who actively gutted the personnel roster of the company.

Is this all just linkbait?

Are We Missing The Point?

To be fair to Marissa Mayer she is sitting in the CEO’s office with access to data and statistics that we simply don’t have. She has made a tough decision one assumes based on that knowledge.

Yahoo seems stuck in place and if it has grown as large and unwieldy as it is rumored then this may be a sound strategy for encouraging streamlining and not a mass firing.

Did Mayer look at all the metrics and decide that work at home was not producing sound results? The HR memo cites the benefits of impromptu water-cooler / corridor meetings. The truth is simply allowing work at home without implementing a sound policy of what meetings have to be face to face, what tools have to be used and or what level of productivity is expected of a 100% work at home employee is setting yourself and this policy up to fail.

Yahoo has allowed this policy forever and yet one would expect that they and not Google’s Google+ or Skype (paid version) would be the forerunners of group video chat. This is a tool that should have been developed in-house (for internal use based on NEED way before Google Hangouts or Skype Group Calls) and then released to Yahoo Mail / Messenger users. Nutshell: Missed opportunity.

Marissa Mayer may have made a very tough decision to bite the bullet and set Yahoo on a path to becoming a leaner company where face-time drives innovation and the employees who simply cannot comply with this ban on work from home are at this moment updating their resumes.

The Warptest POV

On the face of it this is an harsh decision that simply does not factor individual employees personal situations or contributions to the company. It seems to speak to a disconnect between upper management and those employees who have no choice due to personal situation but to work a portion of their time from home.

Productivity and innovation are not always inspired by long work hours in the cube farm or increasingly tough changes to work conditions. You want your employees happily focused on work, feeling creative and driven unless you are the King of Sparta.

Whilst I believe that Marissa Mayer has more to show us than this decision in reshaping Yahoo, I would be more impressed if there were whispers of unveiling a dramatic new direction for Yahoo beyond homepage redesign with continuous scroll.

Maybe we are in for a surprise at Mobile World Congress or SXSW but for now what I’m seeing is corporate strategy and I hope that there more than this ahead for Yahoo.


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