Marissa Mayer posted by TeachUNo more working from home according to Marissa Mayer’s (Yahoo CEO) latest edict. This brilliant decision comes under the heel of her guidance of Yahoo’s new and unimproved homepage. Perhaps that was a failed homework assignment?

Frankly, I don’t really care what happens at Yahoo until Yahoo becomes relevant to my business.

I do care about how moves at Yahoo are interpreted by my colleagues in business. Yahoo’s move to end remote work is stupid. The decision is shallow and fails to find and address the root cause of failed performance. Mayer claims that people working from home are slackers who aren’t producing.

This may be quite true. In fact, let’s give her that. They probably aren’t producing. Is it because they are working from home or is there another reason?

Yahoo is a big outfit. They have more than one office. I would bet that “production” isn’t great at some of Yahoo’s satellite offices. Actually, Yahoo as a company isn’t producing much unless you consider 20 second news clips preceded by 30 second annoying ads to be production.

The real problem is not where the work, or the screwing around, is being done. No, the problem is what is being done.

Yahoo is cranking out a lot of crap these days. There’s the problem and that starts in the home office not in the office at home. What the company is producing is a bigger problem than what Yahoos are failing to produce at home. Crap. Will eliminating the home worker increase the production of crap? Probably.

Mayer missed the problem and therefore implemented a non-solution.

The problem is Yahoo management. There is no new and exciting vision at Yahoo. There is nothing new for those working at home to devote their passion. That is a management problem, fire them.

I have been at companies where the work from home staff isn’t productive. Those companies are lousy with communication. People at home get little or no direct communication. They are instructed (typically) to operate within very strict constraints and yet they get very little feedback.

When the work from home program is failing, it is usually because the worker is not not only remote, but also in the dark.

I have worked for such companies. While my assignment may be to develop marketing, I might have no idea what is happening at the company. Oh, really? We have a new product? Shouldn’t marketing know about that?

What we have here folks is a failure to communicate.

Mayer’s decision will be applauded by control freakish managers but Yahoo will continue to languish.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste and some of those remoters will become Googlers. A year from now the shareholders will cry Boo-Hoo for Yahoo. It’s a shame to lose talent in this ‘buyers market’.

What’s next for Yahoo? I would bet Mayer will play new CEO’s typical hand.

1. Do something showy (The new homepage, Grade? F)
2. Cut cost! (Cut those work at home slackers! Grade? F for failure to correct real problem)
3. Aquisition—Go out and buy something profitable (This rarely works. It takes wisdom to do it right. Google has done it right, Mayer won’t because she will buy in desperation to make herself look good)

After that, if she is still around, it will be cut, cut, cut. Then Yahoo will sell off the “non-performing” units that they spent a fortune developing.

Take Away?

If you have under-performing talent at your business, take a look at the communication first. Before you cut talent, take a good look how they are treated whether working remotely or right under your nose. Distance is not the issue.

Ask these questions:
Is everyone receiving adequate communication?
Does everyone feel [they are] part of the organization?
Does everyone have clear objectives?
Does everyone have the tools, budget and latitude to do their job?
Does everyone have access to the answers they need when needed?

If your business is struggling, the answer to at least one of the above is a firm “NO”. I know that. Even from my remote location, I know that.

Fix that if you want things to improve. Cut if you want to continue to struggle.

Chris Reich,
FW:89 (I went back to 85 looking for a reference)