We've all probably heard by now that Yahoo's new top dog Marissa Meyer decided to send all Yahoo employees back to the office. After all, pretty much EVERYONE has their own take on it – some think that it's a terrible backwards idea while others think that it's an excellent move on the company's part. There have been tirades on blogs, clever status messages and some articles that try to address the issue on both sides.
What it all seems to boil down to, however, is the idea that this ONE small thing might impact an entire industry that (at least, traditionally) gave its professionals some major perks – including the ability to work from home. If Yahoo is making a case for forcing people to come into the office for work, then it's possible that other businesses would follow suit or use it to justify their refusal to establish a virtual office option for employees. Given the growing number of people who like being able to work from wherever they want, even the smallest possibility of being forced back into a standard workplace can inspire vitriol.
Whoa, this is heavy
The implications of this can be astounding. If everyone goes back to, say, 1955-style work environments where everyone has to be at work together pretty much all the time, then who's to say that this wouldn't go even further? On top of managers breathing down our necks, we might have to deal with wardrobe policies and (horror of horrors!) cubicles as well as stringent break schedules. That most certainly doesn’t sound like it's conducive to the creative mind which, by the way, is what most companies are now trying to cultivate.
It also doesn't help that many women will likely lose the ability to work or hold down jobs if the "no work from home" policy is applied everywhere again. For them, telecommuting is not just a perk – it's the only way they can earn money. They families to care for, or financial constraints to work with; they can't afford to be away or to spend on commutes. To take this away is totally unfair.
We don't want to go down this road again. Of course…
Where we're going, we don't NEED roads
The problem with the premise of the arguments AGAINST Meyer's decision is that it was horrible doomsday fear that other tech companies would follow suit, a fear that has little basis. Business experts have already embraced the concept of remote working, and are in fact actively promoting it because it ACTUALLY INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY. Many businesses have flexible work policies in place that proved to be beneficial from them – and they aren't likely to change those policies just because Yahoo did it. We really aren't dealing with roads here. We're dealing with a field.
This means that everyone in the industry can go in any direction that feels right for them. They can wander away from the pack for a while. They can cluster in groups or go totally independent. And they don't necessarily follow each other everywhere. Meyer's decision was likely based on what's right for Yahoo, given the unique circumstances that she has to deal with. It's not an attempt at revolutionizing the tech industry; she just wants to pull ONE company out of its slump.
Meyer can succeed or fail, but it really doesn't have to affect the rest of us. We'll find a way to get through OTHER changes the Yahoo revolution might inspire.
And you know what? Maybe we aren't ready for that – but our kids are going to love it.
Monique Jones is an Engineer who deals with telephone systems. Besides being an Engineer, she also works as a part time writer. She helps her colleagues and other people about their communication issues, giving effective solutions to address their needs.
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