Yahoo disallows working from home

I came across a news article that reported that Yahoo employees can no longer work from home. It is an interesting development and is sure to upset quite a few employees.

While I was doing consulting work for more than a decade (2001 – 2012), I mostly worked from my home office or worked out of clients’ offices. While I had an office to go to for the most part, it was not required that I be at the office. Now, I work out of the office almost all the time. The only time I work from home are when I have back to back calls for a major part the day (usually, they start very early in the morning, like 6 or 7am) or when I have take care of some personal stuff (like waiting for the cable guy).

In general, I agree with the new yahoo policy of requiring employees to be in the office. This certainly improves communication and discussion between team members. Having a global team in different timezones is certainly challenging and I sometimes wish the entire team was in a single location. That being said, the most effective way of working also depends on what the work comprises of.

For the kind of security work that my team is doing, it actually makes sense to have everyone in the same location. When you have team members with different skill levels, it becomes imperative. Previously, in a consulting role, which is more of an individual contributor role (other than for the team management tasks), it was fine to work from home when not visiting clients.

As for Yahoo, it looks like they are making allowances for taking care of some personal stuff like waiting for the cable guy, though they try deliberately to not sound enthusiastic.

And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration.

I can understand the way it is worded. If they say it is all fine, then everyone will try and use this as a loophole to work from home. They are trying to address this issue by saying the minimum possible without saying it is fine. There will certainly be a bunch of people who will protest and raise a fuss. But I think, over time, most will fall in line and those that require work-from-home will find other places that allow them to do it.