Marissa Mayer Defends Her Work From Home Ban

Marissa Mayer finally spoke out about the most controversial decision she’s made so far since becoming Yahoo CEO last August: her ban on working from home.

At a conference for human resources professionals in Los Angeles, Mayer said “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.” 

According to Fortune’s Christopher Tkaczyk, Mayer said Yahoo’s new weather app was built by two engineers who work in an office together.

In February, Yahoo HR boss Jackie Reses sent out a memo banned employees working from home.

Mayer decided on the ban after spending months frustrated at how empty Yahoo parking lots were and consulting Yahoo’s VPN logs to see if remote employees were checking in enough.

Inside Yahoo, some employees reacted to the ban negatively, but most agreed with it, recognising that Yahoo’s culture needs a change.

Outside of Yahoo the ban quickly became a national news story.

Lots of people around the country and world work from home these days, and many of them – particularly mothers – seemed to view Mayer’s ban as a threat on their way of working.

As the story exploded, Mayer declined to react to it.

One source told us that Yahoo’s intent was not to comment on the merits of working from home in general, and that it is not interested in getting into a larger debate. 

Yesterday, Mayer said again that the ban was “wrongly perceived as an industry narrative.”

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