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Yahoo! Technology

Mayer Terminates Yahoo's Remote Employee Policy 524

Posted by timothy
from the gonna-ask-you-to-come-in-on-saaaaaturday dept.
An anonymous reader writes "AllThingsD's Kara Swisher reported and tweeted that Marissa Mayer (CEO since July 2012) has just sent an all-hands email ending Yahoo's policy of allowing remote employees. Hundreds of workers have been given the choice: start showing up for work at HQ (which would require relocation in many cases), or resign. (They can forget about Yahoo advice pieces like this). Mayer has also been putting her stamp on Yahoo's new home page, which was rolled out Wednesday."
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Mayer Terminates Yahoo's Remote Employee Policy

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  • by div_2n (525075) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @01:45PM (#42990137)

    I've managed a team where some people were remote and some local. The amount of additional effort I as a manager had to put into knowing how things were going with my remote reports vs the local reports was not insignificant. Humans didn't evolve with digital communications. The result is that the most effective communication happens in person. Period.

    It's not that you can't have an effective team spread out geographically. It's just that it is more difficult and extremely difficult to be as effective as one that works together in person on a daily basis.

    And I say this as someone that really really really wants to be able to have a 100% telecommuting job.

  • by XopherMV (575514) * on Saturday February 23, 2013 @01:56PM (#42990183) Journal

    telecommuting cuts down communication by a lot.

    As far as I'm concerned, that's its killer feature.

    For developers, that's actually a beneficial feature. The best development occurs in "the zone." It happens when you're able to concentrate on the problem for long enough that the concerns of the world fade from your mind. The result is that the code flows out of you. It takes around a half hour to enter "the zone," but just a single interruption to leave it.

    What happens in an office? Joe has a simple question he can answer on Google with a simple 1 minute search. What does he do? He interrupts Bill sitting at the next desk to answer this question. Bill was in "the zone," but Joe just threw him out of it. Sure, Joe saves a minute of productivity by asking Bill. But, it'll take Bill another 30 minutes of concentration before returning to the level of productivity he was at before Joe interrupted.

    What happens when Joe and Bill telecommute? Joe has a simple question he can answer on Google with a simple 1 minute search. It'll take him a 5 minute conversation with Bill to get the same answer (open his chat window, see if Bill's there, text hi to Bill, wait for a reply, do some small talk, ask his question, wait for an answer, re-explain what he actually meant to ask, wait again for the answer, etc). So, Joe does the Google search instead. Bill never knows there was a problem. Joe loses a minute of productivity doing the Google search. But, Bill continues working in "the zone," not losing a half hour of productivity.

    No, a half-hour doesn't sound like a lot. But, that's for 1 question. Spread a few questions throughout the day and Bill may never enter the zone while working in the office.

    THAT is exactly why people who work from home mostly report being more productive outside the office.

  • Re:This. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Saturday February 23, 2013 @03:14PM (#42990677) Homepage

    Well, you can only overhear stuff which is close enough to you and you are listening at the time, depending on the size of your office that may not be practical. With a shared communication medium like an IRC channel being properly used it is much easier, any number of people can be talking at once and you can scroll back up to read earlier talk.

  • Re:At you desk! (Score:5, Informative)

    by SteveFoerster (136027) <steve AT stevefoerster DOT com> on Saturday February 23, 2013 @06:15PM (#42991745) Homepage

    This is why working from home can be challenging for those people whose family members think, "Oh, you're here anyway, so it's not a big deal if I ask you a quick question or ask you to do some quick task."

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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