Walking Back Work From Home: Yahoo and Virgin


Image representing Yahoo! as depicted in Crunc...People have asked me what I think of Yahoo’s decision to no longer allow employees to work from home.

I think it makes sense.

  • Yahoo is a fractured business. They are so schizophrenic that they really don’t know who works for them and where. (Despite the best payroll systems, this is very common.)
  • In order to understand labor costs, they are calling upon employees to be present and accountable.
  • Through this effort, Yahoo will consolidate internal politics and define institutional power.
  • Once Yahoo understands its labor force, they will be in a better place to either merge with another organization or be purchased.

That’s it.

Right now, Yahoo doesn’t know who is working for them and why. That’s a weak HR department. Instead of empowering HR, Marrisa Meyer is taking a different approach. It works — but only if you’re going to find another HR leader or another HR infrastructure to support your people.

So watch for big changes at Yahoo.

On the other hand, Richard Branson thinks it’s a good strategy to allow employees to work from wherever is appropriate. He thinks you can attain profitability while respecting work/life balance.

I think we are all just one step away from automation and being replaced by robots and algorithms. I think the “work from home” controversy is a subterfuge.

  • Are you paid a living wage?
  • Do you do meaningful work?
  • Does your boss value your input over a robot?

Those are the important questions.

So don’t buy into the hype. Where you work is irrelevant. How you work — and whether or not you are respected — is more important.

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