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Decision on “Ban on Work from Home!?” At Yahoo! - Impact and Perspectives*

CASE STUDY, HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
ET Cases - GSMC, 9 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr. Prageetha G Raju, Associate Professor, Symbiosis International University - Pune, Hyderabad Center and Amrutha Deshpande, Doctoral Research Scholar, IBS Hyderabad

Case Preview

Decision on “Ban on Work from Home!?” At Yahoo! – Impact and Perspectives

 

“People are more productive when they’re alone, but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.”

-- Marissa Mayer, CEO, Yahoo Inc.

 

“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team  meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo, and that starts with physically being together.”

-- Jack Reses, Head HR, Yahoo Inc.

 

The HR strategies in the global companies are always rigorous, up grading according to the demands of the business, changes in technology and dynamics of work environment. The work from home is one such option which is growing due to emergence of new technology, uneven distribution of talent across the world, strategies to promote women’s involvement in corporate world and cost saving through reduction in the physical work space. Along with the advantages, many issues are associated with the work from home option as the connectivity and feeling of being part of one organization goes missing, it becomes difficult for the managers to keep watch on the productivity and performance of the team member and the good insights and innovative ideas coming from team interaction no more exists........

About the Company

Yahoo Inc. multinational Company is an Internet corporation headquartered at Sunnyvale, California, USA. Jerry Yang and David Filo, the founder members of Yahoo, established the company in January 1994 and and it was incorporated on March 1, 19955. The founder of the company came up with an innovative name for the company called, “Yahoo” which is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”. The word “hierarchical” here means that the arrangement of the database of the Yahoo is in layers and subcategories. “Oracle” represents that the company will act as a “source of truth and wisdom” for the customers. “Officious” indicates that the data base of Yahoo is being used by many office workers while surfing from work...........

Chain of CEO Replacements

Yahoo changed four CEOs in a span of five years i.e., from 2007 to 2012in order to improve the performance and productivity of the company (Exhibit I). In January 2009, the former CEO of Autodesk, Carol Bartz replaced the founder member Jerry Yang as a CEO of Yahoo. Carol Bartz got fired at Yahoo, by the chairman, Roy Bostock after less than three years of her joining, as the stock continued to flat line............

Marissa Mayer at Yahoo (2012-present)

In July, 2012 Mayer joined Yahoo as CEO and became the youngest CEO of the Fortune 500 company. Before joining Yahoo, Mayer was working with Google; she joined Google as an Engineer in 1999 and became the company’s first female engineer. She worked on many prestigious projects in Google such as Google search, Google Maps, Google Product Search and many more. She was the Vice President of Local Maps and Location Services , Google before joining Yahoo as CEO..............

Marissa Mayer’s Decision on ‘Ban on Work from Home’

Yahoo experienced doubled stock price in the market23, soon after Mayer’s inception as its CEO (Exhibit II)............

Mayer’s leadership qualities helped Yahoo to regain trust among the stakeholders. She took many aggressive expansion decisions for Yahoo, for instance, acquiring around 20 companies in the span of one year. IT leaders, especially women, were looking up to her as a role model. In order to support working women in IT industry and to help them to maintain work life balance, she increased the parental leaves to eight weeks and an additional bonus of $500 to new parents at Yahoo............

Discussion

From the point of improving productivity and innovation, many business leaders supported the decision of ban on work from home by Mayer. HP also followed the track and asked some employees to get back to the offices. HP CEO Meg Whitman said, “We recognize that in the past, we may have asked certain employees to work from home for various reasons. We now need to build a stronger culture of engagement and collaboration and the more employees we get into the office the better company we will be.” Just as Yahoo, HP also felt the need to bring all the employees together on a common platform and put more emphasis on employee’s interactions to bring innovation wave in the company.............

Looking Ahead

After the ban on work from home decision of Yahoo, experts started debating on many important questions that the company would face in the near future which includes,will this decision prove to be a turning point towards the creation of healthy working environment in Yahoo? ................

Assignment Questions

I. What is the central issue of the case?

II. What does ‘work from home’ mean?

III. Is working from home good or bad?

IV. .....................

Exhibits

Exhibit I: CEOs of Yahoo

Exhibit II: Movement of Yahoo’s Share Price from January 2006 to January 2013

Exhibit III: Jackie Reses Mail on “Ban on Work from Home”

Teaching Note Preview

Decision on “Ban on Work from Home!?” At Yahoo! – Impact and Perspectives

 

The case study is about CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Myer’s unconventional decision on “ban on work from home” which invited strong media attention much to the discomfort of its employees who are working from home. All the employees were asked to report in person immediately; some employees were totally unhappy with this decision while some of them were a little uncomfortable but were ready to abide by the decision.

Pedagogical Objectives

  • • To understand the concept of work-life balance and its various forms
  • • To analyze the positive and negative consequences of flexible work program and discuss whether Yahoo! shall continue to be a best place to work thus fostering a healthy work environment even after this decision
  • • Examine the impact of banning ‘work from home’ on recruitment and retention policy of Yahoo! in international and Indian context

 

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding (PCU)/Before the Classroom Discussion

The case study was given to the students a day before and also instructed to read about work-life balance and correlate the case with the chapter.

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used in Human Resource Management Course for second semester MBA students.

Assignment Questions

  • I. What is the central issue of the case?
  • II. What does ‘work from home’ mean?
  • III. Is working from home good or bad?
  • IV. ....................

..........................


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Product code: HRM-1-0051, HRM-1-0051A

Abstract

With advancement in technology the physical presence at workplace has become an optional issue. Many growing industries have become virtual, using online technology and have a supportive HR strategy for the same. The flexible work timing has become an important tool to attract the talent across the world and to get work done from experts. In such an environment where flexible work culture is appreciated, Yahoo came up with a strategy of ban on 'work from home' to improve the performance of the employees and to promote innovation through team work.

The case study focuses on Yahoo's decision of ban on work from home and discuss the pros and cons of this decision linking it with work life balance.



Pedagogical Objectives

This case study, is proposed to teach the concept of Work-life balance , which manifests itself in many ways, flexible work programs being one. After reading this case study, the student should be able to:

  • Understand the concept of work-life balance and its various forms
  • Analyze the positive and negative consequences of flexible work program and discuss whether Yahoo continues to be a best place to work, thus fostering a healthy work environment even after this decision
  • Examine the impact of banning ‘work from home’ on recruitment and retention policy of Yahoo in international and Indian context

Case Positioning and Setting

Functional Area where the case can be used: Human Resource Management and/or Organizational Behavior where there is a topic on work-life balance


* GSMC 2016, IIM Raipur

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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