a99kitten’s Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

Much has been made by Yahoo’s decision to pull the plug on remote employees last week. I was surprised by the decision since a lot of Bay Area companies have been allowing this for awhile now and it’s been gaining traction as a good way to attract employees. But I also understand why a company would make that decision.

I read a LOT of con articles, a few Pro and listening to pro and con on CNBC. I honestly wanted to smack a lot of the writers of the con articles, especially when they morphed into saying Yahoo was against women and mothers. And draconian. Give me a break.

I work from home. But I work for my own company so I get to make those rules. And if I don’t get my work done, I can fire myself with very little fanfare, threat of lawsuits or fear of taking to the internet with my gripes….against myself.

But I didn’t always work for myself (well…was still partially my company but totally different.) I was HR. And did receive requests for work from home policies. And we said no repeatedly for years. Not one single executive actually wanted it. Some said it would make some employees happy and they would live with it if the company established a policy, but none really wanted it. There are a lot of reasons for that. And some of those are the exact reasons Yahoo laid out as to why they were stopping their remote policy.

I get that, especially in the bay area, you can spend a fair amount of time on the road because you live far away due to housing costs or choosing to live away from the hectic business areas, near better schools, etc. Plus traffic is hellish. But that’s the way the bay area has been for years and years so it’s no surprise to anyone.

And I also get that, as a parent you want to spend more time at home with your kids. But that’s the exact reason I don’t think you are working as much as you should be if not in the office.

Face it – not every job can be done as well remotely. And really face it – not every employee can be trusted to work as efficiently when not in a work/office environment. And there are a lot of administrative reasons to not want employees working away from home – confidential/proprietary information worries, workers comp and labor law BS, etc. I was 100% against it as HR. Most of those things are never thought of by the complaining employees. Or reporters.

And frankly, the employees that we eventually allowed to work from home didn’t seem as part of the team. This includes me! When I changed my schedule to work from home part-time (before transitioning out completely), I noticed how I felt less like part of the team. And I didn’t have a department to miss – I simply reported to the CEO.

It all of a sudden becomes harder to get those employees to Team Events (even a dang holiday party for fun!), to team building things, company meetings, team lunches, department meetings, etc.

I know at least some of these employees at Yahoo took the job after being told they could work remotely. And yes that does stink. But company policies can change. And you have the option to change with them or not. But to cry and complain that you have to GO to work in order to keep your job is a bit ridiculous.

It’s not the job of a company or a CEO to make all decisions to make life easiest for the employees. It’s the goal of the company to create excellent products that keep customers happy and make money for their investors and shareholders (some of which are probably employees via options and stock plans!) And make money for the company. And a lot of this money is then spent on salaries, bonuses, benefits, perks, etc FOR the employees.

It is a job. You are employed. And if the company thinks they can get more and better work product out of their staff by having them work together and not apart, then that’s what the company should do. And you can feel free to quit and work elsewhere. I can pretty much guarantee that your job will be filled pretty quickly.