Yahoo memo sparks debate on pros and cons of working at home

Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:31pm EST
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - An internal memo at Yahoo Inc introducing a ban on working from home has sparked a debate on whether remote working leads to greater productivity and job satisfaction or kills creativity and is just a chance to slack off.

Working remotely has become commonplace due to technology and has been welcomed particularly by people with young families or those facing long and expensive commutes.

Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor show nearly 25 percent of full-time workers did some work at home in 2010.

A survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found 59 percent of UK companies in 2011 offered some kind of teleworking, a jump from 13 percent in 2006, with small companies leading the trend to help cut office costs.

But Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer has ruled that staff can no longer work from home from June this year, as outlined in the widely leaked internal memo which appeared on newspaper websites and online forums on Tuesday.

"Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussion, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home," said the memo attributed to Yahoo human resources head Jacqueline Reses.

Asked about the memo, a Yahoo spokesman said the company does not comment on internal matters.

Mayer, 37, who returned to work two weeks after the birth of her first child last year, was brought to Yahoo from Google to revive the company's diminishing fortunes.   Continued...

A Yahoo! signs sits out front of their headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, February 1, 2008. merger.REUTERS/Kimberly White