How can Marissa Mayer (and you, if you're an employer) determine whether an employee can really and truly be productive from their home office? That's easy. All you have to do is ask these simple questions.
While we might not be able to change the five-day workweek or the two-week-a-year vacation cycle, we can change our approach. We can understand that in order for employees to love their jobs, they must feel valued and happy.
As we bring technology interaction to life, and we move beyond the traditional screen world of the Internet, so too must we free up content and collaboration so it can move with us from any environment to any device seamlessly.
All of us whose jobs bleed beyond the anachronistic 9 to 5 -- who take calls in the evenings, or send emails before dawn? We are all proof that the lines between work and home are gone.
They may mean well, but the ways they are going about these two goals will only take us back to the time when we had to sneak out of the office to get home for dinner (oh, wait, Sandberg admits she did that) and increase the mom guilt I thought we'd all agreed wasn't good for anybody.
As someone in charge of such decisions in my own workplace, I agree with Mayer. Why? Because this debate is not about individual productivity; it is about company productivity.
In order to get to that leadership table in Congress or the C suite, women cannot be marginalized, either directly by work policies that exclude their employment or by "having it all" media debates so rarified that they exclude their participation.
I'm not saying it's easy, and I know that Marissa Mayer has her work cut out for her. But for a technology company like Yahoo! to say that telecommuting cannot be host to healthy, productive work environments in any way -- compared to the "hallway and cafeteria discussions" -- it's just plain hypocritical.
Why is Yahoo now requiring all its employees -- even those who were hired with the understanding that they could work from home -- to report to an office beginning in June? Is working from home a bad policy?
The higher an organization rates itself as having a flexible culture, the lower the organization's voluntary turnover rate.
If Marissa were a man who wanted to be a deeply involved father to his newborn and built a nursery next to his office, wouldn't people -- especially women -- be swooning over his commitment to fatherhood?
Marissa Mayer may end up becoming a successful CEO; however, in the best interest of all the key constituent groups, wouldn't it have been more prudent for the Yahoo! Board to have hired a CEO who had already navigated these turbulent waters?
Collaboration, video, and remote access enables employees to be connected, productive, and happy -- who says collaboration can only happen in the office?
Marissa Mayer's recent decree abolishing telecommuting is a gigantic step backward at an important time for women. While there is much to celebrate when it comes to women's achievements in the work place, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Are there employees at Yahoo whose work is best completed at a physical office on a traditional nine-to-five schedule? I'm sure there are. Is this the best work structure for all 14,000 of their employees? Certainly not.
What do you call the process by which an employer who offered flexible work arrangements to employees for years suddenly decides to retrograde flexibility? Unflexing.