Yahoo! forbids staff from working from home. Countertrend or just plain stupid?


I was quite amazed to read that Yahoo! forbids staff from working from home. At first glance this appears to be a kick in the teeth to the teleworking movement. Then again you realise that we are talking about Yahoo which was once the darling of the Internet is now just a shelf of its former self, at least outside of the USA. So maybe what seems like a drastic measure is an attempt to restore the company to former glories or at least to a level that triggers executive bonuses.

It’s interesting how something like having all your staff work in the same location now has a novelty to it.  Companies like IBM have a significant portion of their workforce mobile and effectively desk-less, and I’ve heard nothing about them rushing out to purchase new desks (and more buildings for that matter). I don’t doubt the advantages gained by having everyone in the same place, but they key question is do they now in 2013 outweigh the disadvantages?

My feeling is that largely they don’t and that the advantages of teleworking remain for a large number of people.  Living in Sydney, the simple removal of 2 hours travelling time each day makes a huge difference to my work/life balance on days when I telecommute.

Still, I do like to bang on about trends creating counter-trends so maybe this could be the start of something new. It will be interesting to keep an eye on other tech companies to see if they follow suit, and on Yahoo’s stock price.

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