Photo: Brett L. via flickr
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer received a ton of criticism over her recent telecommuting ban, especially from “mummy bloggers,” who argued that her decision doesn’t support working mums.But what got lost in this debate, argue Matt Gross, Theodore Ross and Nathan Thornburgh in a piece for The Atlantic, is how working dads are affected by the policy.
Thornburgh wrote that “fathers have even greater work-life conflict issues than mothers.” He points to an HBR study that shows “99 per cent of fathers surveyed said that their managers had the same or higher work expectations of them after they had a child. … Women don’t get enough accommodation after their children are born; men don’t get any.”
But should companies care so much about employees’ personal lives?
Former Yahoo employees told Business Insider that Mayer was right for implementing the ban because Yahooers just weren’t working when they said they were. And in the end, Mayer — as CEO — needs to do what is best for the company. When she realised that employees were abusing their flexible work schedules, she acted as head of a company, not a working mother.
“That office was my saviour … that’s where things get done, where I have the time and head space to think and act in the ways that allow me to earn the money that goes toward the kids’ clothes and diapers and food. And, I should add, that provides me with a sense of fulfillment—a feeling of challenges accepted and overcome.
“… I like to work at work—it lets me separate that me from the other me, the dad I am when the sun goes down from the guy who’s charged with steering a publication into the future. Neither my family nor my co-workers should have to deal with the other guy. I certainly wouldn’t want to.”
No matter where you stand on the telecommuting issue, Mayer’s decision to ban Yahoo’s employees from this option shouldn’t be seen as an attack on working mums because, as Gross, Ross and Thornburgh point out, dads want balance in their work and home lives as well. The bottom line is that Mayer did what she thought was best for Yahoo and if she wasn’t ready to make that her priority, she shouldn’t have taken that CEO seat.
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