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Yahoo CEO's work-from-home ban sparks debate

Published: 8:07AM Wednesday February 27, 2013 Source: ONE News

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer's move to stop staff from working from home has sparked debate around the world, with some saying she risks losing the company's productivity gains.

Jackie Reses, Yahoo's executive vice president of people and development, sent a memo last week asking employees with work-from-home arrangements to make their way to the company's offices, starting June.

Let us know what you think of the ban at the bottom of the page using your Facebook login.

Reses said in the memo that speed and quality can be sacrificed when staff work from home.

"We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together," the leaked memo published by AllThingsD said.

"To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side."

Some are praising Mayer's decision as a move which will bring employers closer together, while Mommy blogs expressed outrage saying it's an anti-family policy.

Donald Trump has weighed in saying that Mayer is doing a "great job".

Trump tweeted that Mayer "Is right to expect Yahoo employees to come to the workplace vs. working at home".

Several hundred Yahoo employees work at home full time, with many more telecommuting a few days a week, AllThingsD reported.

While some have tweeted that today's workers are spoiled and entitled, most have reacted against the move.

A Harvard Business School Professor, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, who specialises in corporate culture and innovation, told Wired in an email: "Requiring everyone to be in fixed places at fixed times can promote rigidity and still not guarantee that teams work well together or produce high levels of innovation."

The news has been picked up around the world, including in Spain, India, Canada, Australia and the UK.

English businessman and Virgin Group Founder, Richard Branson, has sharply criticised Mayer's decision to stop letting employees work from home, writing on his blog that Mayer's pronouncement was "perplexing" and "backwards".

"This seems a backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever."

A blogger for the UK's The Guardian, who wrote the piece from home, said it was an "odd way forward".

"Not just in the world of work in general where telecommuting is rapidly on the rise, but particularly in computer, engineering, and science fields where home-based work has risen 69% between 2000 and 2010," Emma Keller said.

Keller said the ban will prove costly. "Whatever the payoff in cafeteria chat and brainstorming on the bus. Will she underwrite the commuting time and expense? Will there be a gas allowance? Parking? Will employees have their own desks? That's expensive real estate right there."

Wired Magazine said the "rule is stupid", and Forbes listed reasons why it is "an epic fail", including higher employee stress.

Mayer took the helm at Yahoo in July, and has since been overhauling the troubled company.

She famously decided to take only two weeks of maternity leave when her son was born in October.