Weighing in on the work-from-home kerfuffle…
We’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming of awesome advice from awesome regular parents to step into the ring on this whole Yahoo controversy. We’re also taking a break from writing in the royal we (the way we usually do on this blog), because it’s just a really awkward way to tell a story.
One big semantic thing worth calling out here: I called it the “Yahoo controversy.” Not the Marissa Mayer controversy. Two reasons here:
- I have a hard time believing this was a unilateral decision. She’s the CEO of Yahoo, not its empress.
- She’s been CEO a little more than six months. If having staff work from home presented such insurmountable management problems, that hangs on her predecessors and the other executives that have been running Yahoo.
If “speed and quality are often sacrificed” with your virtual workforce, you’re doing it wrong. Period.
And I’m not letting Marissa Mayer off the hook: like it or not (and we have a feeling she likes it), she’s an icon. HIred as CEO of a Fortune 500 company when pregnant? Every move you make is going to be dissected by the media, and every professional woman who has or wants a family is going to be looking to you as an exemplar. It kills me to think that she didn’t think through the optics of this… or worse, that she did think through the repercussions for moms and dads whose professional flexibility is critically important to their families—and dismissed it.
But backing up to working remotely. We have incredible technology at our disposal that enables us, from a home office (or in our Manhattan apartment, the kitchen table), to collaborate in real-time on documents, see our colleague’s facial expression when we float an idea, and access all of our files on our smartphones.
A little about the weeSpring team: the four of us are spread across NJ, CT, and Manhattan—and we have a consultant in LA. We’ve got office space at the NYU Poly-Incubator, but getting there eats up at least an hour (round-trip). So instead, everyone plans their in-the-office time based on when we need to work collaboratively. The rest of the time, we rely heavily on Skype, Google docs, and join.me, which I’ve often found to be more effective than sitting around a conference table. Don’t get me wrong… building a strong culture requires some face time, but some is the operative word there.