Yahoo admits new work policy contrary to industry view

The struggling Web pioneer says in a brief statement that its criticized work-at-office directive is what's best for Yahoo.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
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Yahoo says work at the office, or work for someone else.

In response to the uproar caused by its upcoming ban on telecommuting, Yahoo issued a brief statement this evening acknowledging that its work-at-home ban runs contrary to practices in the tech industry as a whole.

"This isn't a broad industry view on working from home," Yahoo said in a statement published by The New York Times. "This is about what is right for Yahoo right now."

A spokesperson declined to elaborate and said, "We don't discuss internal matters."

Yahoo's new policy, which requires employees to work in the company's offices, immediately ignited a firestorm of criticism. In a memo that leaked out over the weekend, human resources chief Jackie Reses informed the company's workforce that as of June, any existing work-from-home arrangements would no longer be honored.

"To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side," reads the memo.

The new policy was criticized as standoffish in an industry where competition is intense for talented employees and especially ill advised at a company that has over the years battled declining morale among the rank and file. Some pointed out that CEO Marissa Mayer, a new mother who reportedly took only two weeks of maternity leave, should have more empathy for the needs of employees juggling time-conflicting commitments.

However, while working at home has become common at many tech companies, especially at ones eager to show off the benefits of collaborative Web-based software tools, some say the creative process suffers by not being able to share ideas in person.