In a typically muddled attempt to clarify her decision to ban telecommuting at Yahoo, CEO Marissa Mayer chose her April 18th keynote slot at The Great Place to Work Conference to set the record straight:
“People are more productive when they're alone, but they're more collaborative and innovative when they're together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two ideas together,” she explained.
The problem with Mayer's 'clarification' is two-fold:
– Despite its poor, year-after-year performance and me-too status, people still follow Yahoo's lead. Best Buy, for example, ended its flex-time work policy one week after Mayer pulled the plug at Yahoo.
– Second, countless research has been conducted that proves Mayer is dead wrong.
– Working from home is GOOD for creative work. Remote workers are 11 to 20 percent MORE productive when performing creative tasks, according to E. Glenn Dutcher, a University of Innsbruck researcher.
– Telecommuters are almost twice as likely to work more than 40 hours a week, according to a joint study by the University of Texas and University of Iowa.
– Because of these, and other positive by-products of telecommuting you can find in this Inc. Magazine article, Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, has said: “The people who are allowed to telecommute now tend to be the oldest, highest paid and most trusted employees. I call it the five percent privilege. Businesses need to get past that.”
Amen, Ms. Lister. Amen. Peppercomm's telecommuters also happen to be among our most trusted and valued employees.
I think Ms. Mayer's bizarro world version of the Emancipation Proclamation was done for one reason and one reason only: it was a highly creative way to downsize the hundreds of Yahoo employees who for financial, physical, moral or ethical reasons couldn't afford to uproot themselves and their families and relocate to Sunnyvale, California. Period. It had nothing whatsoever to do with productivity, creativity or collaboration.
And, for Mayer and Yahoo, that's nothing to shout (or yodel) about.