Yahoo telecommute ban is much ado about nothing: Silicon Valley

Comments (5)
brotherkenny4 wrote:

No it’s not “much ado about nothing”. These tech companies have touted for many years the new ways of doing things that they could accomplish because of the special nature of their work and technology and telecommuting was one of those things. You know, we become less dependent on foriegn oil because we work from home more, etc. etc. What they are saying here is that telecommuting doesn’t work. Big talkers with the same old corporate hierarchy of manipulation. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Perhaps if the corporate smucks weren’t so interested in appearance and sycophantcy. Suck up, to move up.

Feb 28, 2013 2:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
rickvidallon wrote:

It matters little where Yahoo employees work, per Yahoo market share and growth. Yahoo is far behind the technology curve and has lost touch with it’s core offerings.

For example, Yahoo web hosting. Where hosting profits are marginal at best, a robust hosting service encourages use of other Yahoo products and Yahoo loyalty. Yet the Yahoo hosting platform interface (after log-in) looks more like at page right out of 1998.

Feb 28, 2013 5:28pm EST  --  Report as abuse
gmh45069 wrote:

I have been around this industry for a looooong time. Before Internet, I worked for Tymnet, which at the time was the worlds largest packet switched network. We had email, albeit very crude, and the ability to troubleshoot the network from anywhere in the world, anytime of day. They let us work, and we did.

This preamble leads me to the following, that I have learned and re-verified through-out my life.

You can set-up your “workforce”, by the rules and regulation you impose. In my view the fewer the better. What is needed in the case of Yahoo is to attempt to treat this very bad decision as if it is ignorance, rather than stupidity; and see if that invokes a learning moment.

I have always noticed that responsible commute/telecommute run towards the problem rather than away. When you work in an industry that is 7/24, you need folks ready and willing to do whatever it takes, whenever the need occurs. Perhaps some responsible people work every other hour for 16 hours. You end up feeling that you are a contributor rather than a work-unit. You are engaged.

On the other side is the punch a time clock in, and 8 hours later, punch a time clock out.

You are guaranteed to turn contributors into clock punchers. You will demoralize those that do contribute. You will cause people to watch their back, rather than the goal.

Essentially, responsible people will have to learn how to be a robot clock-puncher. Most can’t, and will have to leave, since they wanted to be wanted, rather than being a robot; spewing out steaming piles of code for 8, then out. This, in turn, will separate the wheat from the chaff, but will cause the wheat to flee.

I have observed over the decades that many people are always in their cubicle, usually doing absolutely nothing. However, their boss walks by and gets a particularly good feeling seeing the cube occupied. On the other hand, I have worked for a field service company in the old days, with an old-school manager, who could not STAND to see anyone in the office. “Go out and fix something”. When you are sitting at your desk, I can tell you are not doing a thing, he would say. And he was absolutely correct.

Very briefly, this is the problem facing the contributors. I have been a lab rat in this type of experiment in the past. If it is implemented, assuming the implementer is aware of what the human toll will be, it is done to chase away folks, hopefully without having to pay unemployment insurance.

In that case, you are not dealing with ignorance or stupidly. What you are left with is evil.

Good luck Yahoo. I would approach this as ignorance for now; and see what happens next.

-gmh

Feb 28, 2013 5:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
urr8 wrote:

In typical Yahoo fashion, the company is out of date with the times. What do you expect when they are owned by MSN? Have these people heard of technology? There is Skype…there is instant messenger (a product they have on their own email system, none the less….

The article refers to how you can just “shout over the wall” when someone is finished with a project, so someone else can “take a look” – you can do the same by sending an instant message to a person. Personally, the “shouting over the wall” gets a little irritating when someone is trying to concentrate & work on something. I know employees who say co-workers tend to overuse & annoy employees who are in the office.

My employers sits everyone in pods in our office space. You know what it’s done? It made people rely more and more on their headsets. You can’t concentrate with other people “shouting over the wall” about projects – or putting a meeting on speaker-phone because they are too cheap to buy a headset. What every happened to giving people personal space? And not “spying” on employees to make sure they aren’t surfing the internet all day? Typically the ones that do surf, the bosses see them do it & still don’t do anything about it, so what is the point?

Mar 01, 2013 8:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
KMGi wrote:

No one disputes that facetime is important, especially to jobs that require creative input, idea generation, problem solving, etc. But equally important is a worker’s ability to stay home on some days and work through a project that requires his undivided attention. Facetime is not always a positive thing. It can be distracting and might impede on a worker’s ability to meet tight deadlines when all he has to do is sit down, get in the zone, and do the work. A telecommuting arrangement that allows for a balance of working from home and working from the office, has proven to be most successful. Workers who can work from home a couple days a week are more productive. They experience greater work/life balance, are less stressed, and produce better quality work. I understand why Mayer would be frustrated after seeing that many teleworkers were not logging into their VPN. In that moment, she had an opportunity to implement programs that would increase accountability, punish those who were taking advantage of the situation, and provide the productive remote workers with better supervision and resources. A blanket ban of this sort does not raise morale.

To build trust, Yahoo! could take advantage of TransparentBusiness.com, which periodically captures screenshots from the remote employee’s computer and make them available in real time to the employee’s manager. Built-in features such as automatic time logging and project tracking make it possible for a manager to see how many hours each teleworker has spent on active projects.

Mar 06, 2013 11:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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