Yahoo Employee: 'Getting Your [Rear] To The Office Is Not Too Much To Ask'

Marissa Mayer at Davos

Photo: Bloomberg TV

Yesterday, we reported that a few ex-Yahoo employees we spoke to are in favour of CEO Marissa Mayer’s ban on working from home.It turns out that many current Yahoos agree with Mayer’s decision.

Over on question-and-answer site Quora, a user who claims to have worked at Yahoo for four years says “I am glad that the change in policy was made.”

“The house needed and still needs a lot of cleaning up and Marissa is doing just that.”

“If we want to change, compete, and make a come back all hands have to be on deck, in meetings, contributing ideas, involved, etc.”

“People will use the argument that look at Google and how it allows employees to work from home. My question would be have you seen their P&L? They make boatloads of money.”

“We are fighting to stay relevant. So getting your arse into the office and working on projects is not too much to ask. If you don’t like it well too bad, the exit door is over there.”

Another user who describes himself or herself as a Yahoo employee writes:

I think its a great thing for the company. I have been at Yahoo! for 5 years and Marissa is doing a much needed house cleaning. There is still some good talent here but we need all hands on deck and those who are not team players can just bow out. 


I personally am very happy with not being allowed to work from home. And to be honest, my family loves me more since I started leaving my work at work. Most of my other colleagues too are very happy.

A couple of the Yahoo employees on the thread say that Yahoo hasn’t banned working from home from time to time when needed.

“If your child is sick it is ok to work from home for that day and my boss and others are ok with that. The change primarily affects those who permanently work from home.”

Says another: “The policy is not as strict as everyone is reporting. There is still reasonable measures in place for family and emergency but you damn sure can’t hide at home any more”

Over on Hacker News, a forum for startup enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, there’s a thread full of nightmare stories from ex-Yahoos about how the company needs the new, sometimes harsh, discipline Mayer is bringing to it.

One self-described ex-Yahoo says:

I worked for Yahoo in the years surrounding the Microsoft debacle. Let me tell you in no uncertain terms that Yahoo was the worst company I worked for.

I had very little work to do. Period. End of statement. I spent most of my time doing practically nothing except playing ping pong and foosball and getting paid for it. A lot of my coworkers and a lot of Yahoos were in the same boat. Needless to say, that once the Microsoft acquisition failed and the layoffs started happening, most of us were out of there.

On top of that, there was very much a prima donna attitude around Yahoo, with a great deal of self-entitlement. I remember a couple of threads on devel-random complaining about the lack of ping pong balls, and how that insulted us as Yahoos since it meant that management didn’t trust us. Oh the humanity of not providing everyone with $2 worth of ping pong balls!

Yahoo was filled with lazy workers, and an extremely fat layer of lazy management. I vaguely remember Rasmus running a script that calculated around 70 employees per VP. As well, the internal politics at Yahoo was astounding. One of my friends worked on an iPhone app on his own free time, and when he tried to get approval, it was held up for months because people were arguing over things like colour schemes, and which group should own the app. It was pathetic.

I like what Marisa Mayer is doing. I think by getting rid of some privileges like remote working, it is enforcing a discipline that hasn’t been at Yahoo, at least during the years that I was there. Showing up to work is a small price to pay for being paid a great wage and having the opportunity to work for what will hopefully become a first class company again. People need to show up and work and interact with their peers, instead of hiding at home and people not knowing wtf is going on with them. Sure, some people will quit, but quite bluntly, anyone worth their salt would have already left Yahoo by now. Anyone who is happy working in the environment that was Yahoo over the past 5 years is not an A player by any stretch, so it’s safe to assume that you can afford to lose them.

Another says that the tough tactics are actually attracting to Yahoo talented people who want to work hard:

Marissa is making some progress in turning Yahoo back into a desirable place to work again. I’m hearing from good engineers I know at respectable companies that have either considered it after talking to recruiters or have actually accepted offers. I suspect there is some method to the madness around the remote working policy – we’ll just have to see over the long run what shakes out of it.

We’d like to hear directly from more Yahoos about Mayer’s decision. Reach me at [email protected]

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