Marissa Gets it Right

Marissa Gets it Right

By Dave Michels February 25, 2013 6 Comments
Dave Michels JPG
Marissa Gets it Right by Dave Michels

I’ve been a big Marissa fan ever since "My Cousin Vinny." Last week, Marissa shocked the business community by staying at Yahoo! another week. Though evidently as the warden she is a bit lonely. Last Friday, employees of Yahoo! received a summons stating “speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

Yes, the era of home and remote teleworking at Yahoo! has come to an end. It is time to get back to work not the activity, but the place. No more lollygagging at home watching "Ellen" in your pajamas. Shockingly, some of the employees are upset about this, but their complaints only reveals their chagrin. If employees really wanted a work-remote option, they should have worked harder.

Marissa gets it, and that’s probably why she only took two weeks off for maternity leave. Who can get anything done with all that baby crying? Some believe that this is just a cost-cutting measure. But that isn’t likely as the new policy will result with more wear and tear on the facilities, more HVAC, and a lot more paper (printer and toilet).

Marissa is working hard to get the company’s stock price and culture back to an earlier time. There are many changes afoot. Yahoo! is rumored to be looking at a new BYOD policy that supports both Swingline and Bostitch, and the company store has a new line of Members Only jackets. Yahoo also announced that employees who stay in the office for 25 years will earn a gold colored seat cushion.

Working remotely is not efficient or effective. That’s why all staff should be commuting to the office in the name of productivity. Internet companies are not the only ones to go astray, and Marissa provides a model for other industries to follow. Teachers are assigning too much homework to our kids. If it is important, it should be done at school. It’s also time to get those astronauts off the International Space Station for proper supervision. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it isn’t what you do, it’s what people see you do.

The move is expected to save Yahoo! a fortune in cell phone costs and salaries. Remember, the last one out should close things up (and grab a to-go cup: coffee is for closers).

Perhaps someday things will be different. Perhaps there will be a time where a person’s output is how we measure their productivity and work ethic. Perhaps someday the technology will exist that allows remote workers to connect, contribute, and collaborate as effectively (or better) than being on-site. Perhaps remote working will be valued by both employee and employer as it offers both sides strong benefits. Perhaps that someday is today? Nah, that’s just silly.  


6 Responses to "Marissa Gets it Right" - Add Yours

Michael Graves 2/25/2013 10:29:45 AM

So much for innovation. OTOH, if the company isn't well adapted to dealing with a distributed workforce gathering the clan may be the best option. It takes significant effort to keep a group moving in the same direction when they don't rub shoulders in the hallway or the break room.

So you'll be making the trek to your office now as well? And where is that exactly?
Art Rosenberg 2/25/2013 12:22:14 PM


Many years ago I had a discussion with the editor of a business communications magazine about the role of the "office." Before the Internet and the Web, it was the place where business information was stored (in desks and filing cabinets), workers could quickly communicate with each other during office hours, and where you could get office supplies quickly. I suggested that it was also a place where the office worker could be supervised more easily for performance management. by making sure that workers are kept constantly busy with assigned business tasks. .

I have a feeling that it is more of the last role that Yahoo has not been able to manage with various new technologies, as both Dave and Michael suggest, because all the other roles of being in an office have become effectively remote and virtualized. The time and resources wasted in commuting to an office location seems to have been ignored, along with the intuitively obvious approach of measuring performance results, not just time involved.
Marty Hollander 2/26/2013 9:25:37 AM


We need to thank Yahoo for raising worldwide awareness of the value of having the right tools to make working remotely as effective as being at work. Perhaps making employees come to work will force Yahoo to develop something like Hangouts that she clearly won't let her employees use!

What seems to have been missed in the discussion is that it is not an absolute that one either works at home or at the office. A mix combined with the ability for teams to meet as if they are physically present removes the issue.
Peter Fretty 2/26/2013 11:29:50 AM

Nice post Dave! Hopefully they are filling out their TPS reports each day as well.
Simon Dudley 2/27/2013 9:42:41 AM

Great commentary here. This ban says less about the efficiency of Yahoo’s remote workers and more about the company’s failure to realize that WFH programs require a carefully crafted strategy and policy, like any other aspect of running a business. Many companies, both big and small, have successful WFH programs and I think it’s pretty safe to say many of them involve video conferencing of some sort. Clearly the Yahoos have not been keeping up with the major technological advancements in video conferencing over the past few years or the companies that are leading the way. If doctors can treat patients effectively via telemedicine, then I’m sure Yahoo’s employees can collaborate effectively with each other. They just need the right tools.
Marty Parker 2/28/2013 8:25:42 AM

LOL! I just hope that Yahoo! does not try to build a leading market share with a competitor to Google Hangouts. :-)

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