Yahoo Draws Criticism for Ending Work From Home Option

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Staffing Change Fosters Discussion about Workplace Productivity

Yahoo sent a memo to its employees Friday regarding their professional relationships. The memo stated that employees would be at their best and most collaborative when they were physically in the office, effectively ending the option for Yahoo employees to work from home.

Jackie Reses, head of Yahoo Human Resources, said in the memo eliminating the option would make the work environment more "productive and fun."

"It is critical that we are all present in our offices," the memo reads. "Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people and impromptu team meetings."

Some are criticizing the decision, claiming that it is counterproductive to the breaking of the glass ceiling for women in the workplace. Ruth Rosen, a professor of women's history at the University of California, told The New York Times that Reses "seems unwilling for other women to lead a balanced life in which they care for their families and still concentrate on developing their skills and career."

Others say the decision is crucial for workplace innovation. Dr. John Sullivan, a human resource adviser, told the press that people who work at home are significantly more productive but less innovative. “If you want innovation, then you need interaction,” Sullivan told the Times.

Yahoo isn't the first to order workers back to the office. Late last year, Bank of America restricted its work from home program for many workers nationally.

According to the U.S. Census, 10% of workers do their work from home at least once a week, and the number is increasing. A recent survey by WorldatWork said that working from home was seen as having a positive effect on job engagement, motivation and satisfaction by most (80%) of the survey participants. Some employees find the work-from-home option invaluable, particularly in regards to raising children or tackling a long commute.

Do you think employees should be able to work from home? Why or why not?

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