So just a few days into her six-month anniversary as CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer announced through a Human Resources memo that all the yahoos who telecommute need to cut that mess out by June and bring their behinds into the office to work.
In a memo that surfaced this week on All Things D, Yahoo HR head Jackie Reses told Yahoo employees that “speed and quality” are sacrificed when they work from home, and that coming into the office everyday would “increase communication and collaboration” as the company works to be “more productive, efficient and fun.” Added Reses: “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people and impromptu meetings.”
Which is basically an HR way of saying “Dig it: when you work from home, you know good and hell well you’re doing everything but working, so I’mma need you to figure out who’s gonna take care of your babies and sick kids, who’s gonna be meeting the cable man and the plumber and them, and bring it on into the office. Not now, but right now.”
If you’re a faithful and true MyBrownBaby reader, you probably already know where this next sentence is going: I told y’all.
I knew from the moment the then-pregnant Mayer parked her Louboutins beneath the grand desk in the corner office of her Fortune 500 company, vowing to take only a short working maternity leave with her firstborn, that your girl would not and had no plans whatsoever to help the American workforce pave the way for a newer, more modern employment paradigm for working mothers. I mean, wasn’t it clear that she planned to play by the same rulebook as the boys when, instead of taking a real maternity leave and insisting on flexibility to either work from home or bring her baby to work while she steered the ship, she basically squatted, pushed out her kid, then hightailed it back into her office before her perennial stitches healed? I made clear in my post, “Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s New (Pregnant) CEO, Isn’t Special,” that her going back to work quickly after giving birth was not only far from revolutionary—blue collar moms making barely a living wage have to head back to work without benefit of spending time with their children if they want to feed their families and keep roofs over their heads—but set a dangerous precedent that put all of us mothers in the crosshairs of an unforgiving system that punishes women for being pregnant, having babies and daring to juggle careers and motherhood.
Dare I say that for a company trying desperately to innovate, Mayer’s ordering workers back to work seems neither progressive, inspiring or smart. USA Today reports that, according to the U.S. Census, almost 10 percent of America’s workforce works from home at least one day a week, and about 25 percent of those employees are in management, business or finance. And a survey by the nonprofit human resources association WorldatWork, seven to eight of every 10 people surveyed said the flexibility to work at home was “a positive or extremely positive effect” on their job engagement, motivation and satisfaction. And even the U.S. government is encouraging telecommuting, arguing that it helps ease traffic congestion, cuts commuting hours and helps reduce office space.
I know this much: rolling out of the bed, grabbing my computer and getting right to work without worrying about getting dressed, commuting and shooing nosy co-workers out of my office while I tried to get my work done was a godsend on the few occasions that I got to telecommute when I actually worked in an office. And having a boss that understood the dilemmas that come with sick children or a babysitter who didn’t show up to work or school closings and who trusted me to get my job done just made me more loyal—made me work harder to prove that she didn’t get it wrong by letting her foot up off my neck and allowing me to be both a dedicated employee and mom. We mothers are capable, after all, of doing both, you know—something that the boy’s club of bosses seem to rarely understand.
In her move to stop telecommuting at Yahoo and order her workers to chain themselves to their desks, Marissa Mayer wasted not one second’s worth of time making it clear that, really, she’s just one of the guys.
1. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s New (Pregnant) CEO, Isn’t Special.
2. Millionaire Ann Romney and the Fake Mommy Wars: What We Moms REALLY Want
3. Mission Possible: A Black Mom Trades In “Having It All” For “Having What Matters”
4. Postponing Motherhood: Is It Possible To Build A Family and A Career?
5. Balance is for Yoga and Flamingos: Rethinking Work/Life Balance For Busy Moms
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.