Opinion: Why you canít wear slippers when working for Yahoo


By Simon Dudley, LifeSize Communications Evangelist

Shocker! The greatest discoveries in the history of humankind weren’t made in the comfort of a busy office. Take for example Archimedes. He made one of the most profound discoveries of his career in a bathtub. And at the same time, he put the word Eureka forever in our dictionaries. That’s creativity at its best. But Yahoo apparently knows better. Or does it?

Earlier this year Yahoo took the surprising move to ban working from home (WFH) for every one of its employees. In doing so it raised a number of interesting questions: What do you need to make a corporate culture work? How do ideas propagate through a business? And most importantly, what are the necessary tools that bind corporate culture and the free flow of ideas?

Some may argue that Yahoo’s telecommuting ban is part of a broader move to down size. The company recently reduced its workforce by nearly 20 per cent — down to 11,500 from some 14,100 at the end of 2011.

But there may be more to it than that. In a memo written by Yahoo EVP of People and Development Jackie Reses, the HR chief says, “to become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will need to be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.”

This comments makes it quite clear. It’s about the business culture. The queen bee wants to have all her workers in the hive, right?

“Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings," the Reses memo continues. "Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home."

It’s ironic that a company with its own branded IM... continued on page two >


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