Marissa Mayer has started her tenure as Yahoo CEO with a pair of controversial moves. PHOTO: Jolie O'Dell, CC licence.
Yahoo's new CEO is willing to be bold and do what will initially be unpopular, but her latest move might not be so much bold as tone deaf or even classist. Mayer made headlines early in her tenure as Yahoo CEO by announcing that all employees will have to come into an office or find a different job. There was a predictable amount of grumbling about that, but it is a defensible move for the health of the company. What Mayer has to understand in making such a move is that people, especially parents, have built a certain lifestyle around the fact that they can work from home, and so the shift won't be easy for them. In fact, Mayer herself was six months pregnant when she took the CEO reigns, and so she can make a good case that she understands the plight of the working mom, but she is leading by example.
Which is why the optics of building a nursery next to her office are really bad. There is really no better way to drive home the point that what Mayer is asking her Yahoos (what Yahoo employees call themselves) is a lot easier if you are making, say, $17 million a year (Mayer's salary). Again, ending the working from home policy is debatable, but Mayer has a case there, but building the nursery underscores that the toll this move takes hits her lowest-paid employees the hardest.
Maybe doing three days in the office, two days flexible would provide most of the benefits of having everyone come in every day, and keep people fresher and happier.