Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer recently nixed the company’s work-from-home policy in an effort to build camaraderie:
“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” read the memo to employees. “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”
The goal of Mayer to cure what ails Yahoo: Reviving a moribund and enervated workforce that has struggled to innovate and excel over many years. One of the many problems has been the liberal use of work-from-home policies that have been woefully mismanaged to create a culture that is simply not energized.
Mayer is supposedly some kind of whiz kid, and I’d be more open-minded about this move if it weren’t for one thing: this is an asinine way to lead if I ever heard of it. There’s no shared sacrifice. Mayer doesn’t have to worry about balancing her work and home lives because she brings her home with her to work:
Many others at Yahoo’s Sunnyvale, Calif., HQ pointed to the nursery Mayer had built — for which she paid personally — next to her office as a perk others at Yahoo do not get.
“I wonder what would happen if my wife brought our kids and nanny to work and set em up in the cube next door?” joked a husband of another employee who will be losing her work-from-home privileges.
The story quoted an anonymous Twitter user agreeing with this tactic …
“Marissa is doing what good leaders do,” wrote one person on Twitter. “Making sure her Yahoo team is communicating & working TOGETHER.”
… but the likely reason this user was not named is because this person doesn’t have a fucking clue what leadership is.
Leadership is not a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do thing. If you ask your team to sacrifice and yet your Little Dumpling gets a playpen palace in your office your team will be stampeding for the exits in a New York second. If Queen Yahoo isn’t willing to set the example for her team then she’s not a good leader.
I don’t know what work-from-home policy is best. Each company and each situation is different. I do know that if you make a drastic change to your employee’s arrangements and continue feathering your own nest then soon you won’t have a team left to lead.