Can Yahoo be more ‘efficient’ with more workers driving to the office?
In a decision that sent the internet into a tizzy today, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has decided that employees will no longer be allowed to telecommute to work. USA Today reports:
Yahoo’s decision is meant to foster collaboration, according to a company memo sent to employees Friday.
Yahoo’s head of human resources, Jackie Reses, wrote that communication and collaboration will be important as the company works to be “more productive, efficient and fun.” To make that happen, she said, “it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people and impromptu team meetings.”
According to Census figures from 2010, about 9.5 percent of the U.S. workforce telecommutes at least one day a week. That’s actually not very much, considering telecommuting can be more productive for some workers, not to mention more comfortable. Millions of Americans working from home or local co-working spaces each day save millions of tons in emissions each year, and potentially cut down on traffic deaths.
According to a source inside the company, many workers across all of Yahoo’s divisions have been telecommuting for a long time now, in arrangements distinctly unlike those at other Silicon Valley tech giants.
The telecommuting issue is relevant to many office workers in America, but especially so in the Bay Area, with its crappy regional transit options and big distances between desirable office parks and desirable bedroom communities. Some of the biggest Silicon Valley tech companies have enlisted their own private busing systems to cut down on telecommuting and also keep up with the desires of their workers to live in dense urban areas outside of sprawly, beige, boring Silicon Valley.
It’s not like we’ve looked to Yahoo for leadership in tech in a long (long, looong) time. Still, this is a sudden switch for the company’s culture, and it may be bad news for telecommuters at other organizations that want to get more “collaborative.”
So, Yahoo workers intending to keep your jobs by moving to the Bay Area: Please just don’t move to Oakland. Hey, I hear San Jose is pretty nice!