Debate: After Yahoo's Marissa Mayer banned working from home, should more offices follow suit?


Independent Voices
Wednesday 27 February 2013 12:50

What's going on?

Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer has banned employees working from home as she seeks to boost productivity at the struggling tech giant.

"Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home", read a memo sent to all employees, "We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together".

Concerns that this might spell a shift away from telecommuting will dismay the millions of Britons who currently work from home.

But is Mayer right to insist on a daily trip to the office?

Case for: Contact

No matter how hard an employee works from home, chances are their office-hassled manager will presume they get away with an outrageous amount of skiving. Furthermore, the close contact an office affords helps staff make contacts that can boost their careers in future, as well as allowing them to benefit from the counsel of colleagues on a day-to-day basis. Mayer should be applauded: telecommuting helps very few to get ahead and can lead to many falling behind.

Case against: Atmosphere

Allowing employees to get on with things away from the office doesn't just cut on real estate costs, it can boost productivity by reducing commute time and stress. And one way to attract top talent, reveals a survey for the Society for Human Resource Management, is to include some measure of flexibility in working hours. Just because a tech giant struggling to survive has taken drastic measures doesn't mean they're right about it.

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