I've both loved and loathed working from home. Working from home is neither the problem, nor the solution. Creating great work and creating a great family require the same things: time, space and working together.
Mayer's decision, ironically, is a huge diss on her own product set. It's like she's saying what Yahoo! offers doesn't deliver when it comes to creating meaningful human exchanges. For that we apparently need to resort to offices cubicles and water cooler encounters.
Those of us who are conscientious about doing a good job and being a good parent constantly weigh competing priorities. Every day, we make decisions about where to put our time and attention, so that both our kids and our coworkers get what they need from us.
Among the emerging trends in education -- from pre-school to post graduate -- is the genuflection at the altar of technology. Much of this is pure hype, manufactured and distributed by the tech companies who stand to profit immensely from efforts to digitize education.
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?