Yahoo?? More like Yikes!!

Yahoo!Marissa Mayer’s recent pronouncement to bring Yahoo employees back to “the office” says more about Yahoo’s leadership and cultural dysfunction than anything else. Here’s a former high-tech innovation industry leader that is stating that without in-face collaboration and interaction, they are unable to innovate. Wow!

Unlike those who have written in the past week that Yahoo’s move signals a broader shift back to the office, I disagree. In fact, I still foresee a future of increasingly common and easy collaboration and innovation. Quite simply, the productivity possibilities, combined with unbelievably easy collaboration software will continue to not only allow for such remote interactions, but will intensify it over the next decade. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and make a prediction that within 25 years, a majority of knowledge work will be done outside of traditional office structures.

It’s no secret that I’m a proponent of remote working. Even before I launched into a life of teaching and consulting, much of which is done from my home office (or sometimes by laptop lounging on my bed), I experienced the boost in productivity and innovation in the Fortune 500 world, when Mother Nature would unleash a winter blizzard. Our headquarters would shut down, and we’d all work from home. It was AMAZING what could be accomplished between shoveling efforts!

What do others think? Does the recent decisions at Yahoo foretell the demise of the remote worker? Or do you agree that it’s merely a last ditch (and misaligned) effort of increasingly desperate leadership of a (potentially) dying technology giant?

In the end, I believe Yahoo’s most valuable assets will continue working from home…..just for other, more innovative companies.  But, we will see…..

2 thoughts on “Yahoo?? More like Yikes!!

  1. She’s trying to reinvigorate the culture, which you can’t do remotely. It has to do with organizational goals not elimination of remote working. Brave move in my opinion.

    1. I’m not sure I agree, either with the attempt to reinvigorate Yahoo’s culture or that this can’t be done remotely. I’d suggest that what Mayer is doing is not reinvigorating the culture, but changing it. Part of their culture includes working remotely (and having years of success doing so…until recently). And while a culture of workers interacting in person daily is certainly a valid culture, it’s not necessarily (I believe) accomplished through merely changing the culture. I agree entirely that the move is a courageous one….I merely believe it is the wrong courageous one at an organization such as Yahoo. It was also suggested that this could, in fact, be an effort really to weed out unproductive remote workers and thereby avoid: 1) layoffs, and 2) tough, yet critical conversations. If that’s the case, it could be argued that Mayer’s decision is not brave at all, but merely avoidant leadership. That would be even more disappointing. Thanks for your thoughts, though….that’s what this blog is all about, the exchange of ideas and perspectives!

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