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Monday, March 4, 2013

Marissa Mayer - My Sheroe


Elle Terry
So at zero dark thirty this morning, I was greeted with an email from LinkedIn and a headline story from BusinessInsider on what led Marissa Mayer to call in her “work at home” employees.  I find out that Ms. Mayer did her homework and ran the numbers.  The Yahoo! VPN (Virtual Private Network) showed that folks were at home slacking.  Not enough log-ins to justify being at home.

The media has slammed Ms. Mayer for having the audacity, yeah, the audacity, to recall Yahoo!’s teleworkers and make them come into the office.  The reasons why run from “more face time is needed” to “creativity flows better” when everybody is in the office.  Working from home, while it has its perks, is only really effective at this point in Internet history, when it is based on Pay for Performance (PFP), i.e., you only get paid when you produce. 

I work from home on a PFP basis and the temptation is always there to do the housework, take the phone calls, and talk to the mailman when you are supposed to be working, but I don't get paid if I don't work.  The (corporate) systems are not totally in place yet to monitor (fully) teleworkers though.  What Mayer did was to check the number of log-ins teleworkers made during a particular time period and saw that there were far fewer log-ins, and maybe, just maybe a probable reason why Yahoo! is not No.#1.

As a leader, you have a variety of choices and decisions to make on a daily basis.  Sometimes those decisions and choices look mean and fast to the outside world, but what Ms. Mayer is doing is “regrouping”.  I do not think that this will be a permanent situation for Yahoo!’s teleworkers, but I believe that a broader message is being sent – you can’t get away with minimal, mediocre work just because you are working from home. 

Regardless of whatever the media is saying about “stay at home moms” and all the rest, at the end of the day, Yahoo! is a business, Ms. Mayer their leader and she made the call.  For those of you who want to lambast Mayer for making the decision to bring teleworkers back to the office while she has a nursery built, know this.  She worked hard to get to that place of having a nursery built next to her office.  She has a Bachelors in Symbolic Systems and graduated with honors from Stanford, and she has a Masters in Computer Science.  I won’t even mention the honorary doctorate she received.  When and if you get this far in your academic journey, you can ponder a nursery, car and other perks.  She did not just walk in off the street and take over.  She worked hard....and I bet she knows what she’s doing when it comes to employees....do I need to remind you that she used to run Google? Yeah, that search engine you can’t live without has Marissa Mayer’s imprint all over it.  Quit rushing to judgment and let’s see how this plays out.  e/.

Read more about the situation at Business Insider