Making her possibly the last person in the world to speak up on the subject, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has broken her two-month silence on the company’s decision to spike its work-from-home policy.
And she did it with a sense of humor, pausing during her closing keynote presentation at The Great Place to Work conference in Los Angeles on April 19th to address what she called “the elephant in the room.”
She was (sort of) speaking literally, as an image of a purple elephant with the letters WFH—for Work From Home—on its side suddenly appeared on projection screens throughout the Hyatt Regency Century City auditorium as she spoke.
Mayer—who had previously refused to comment since Yahoo brought remote workers back to the office in February—echoed a statement the company issued in the wake of the leaked memo announcing the change. Telecommuting is “not what’s right for Yahoo right now,” she said, adding that the move was “wrongly perceived as an industry narrative.”
However it was perceived, the announcement sent shockwaves far and wide, as media outlets everywhere wondered aloud if we would start to see more companies doing an about-face on telecommuting.
That hasn’t happened so far—with the well-publicized exception of Best Buy, which cancelled its Results Only Work Environment flexible-work initiative just one week after Yahoo’s announcement.
But the conversation around flexible-work arrangements is still spirited, with countless pundits, bloggers and publications, including our own, sizing up the pros and cons of the practice.
Arguments on both sides of the telecommuting debate have some compelling points. With regard to Yahoo, it’s too early to tell how (if at all) Mayer’s controversial move—just one of the changes she’s made since coming on board last July—will affect the organization’s fortunes going forward. But won’t it be interesting to see how the decision is viewed in hindsight if she is able to overhaul the troubled Internet giant?