Autocracy at Yahoo – or is that Idiocracy?
I just read this article from Mashable, which got me fired up! It basically says that Yahoo! has cancelled their work-from-home policy, because Marissa and HR believe that “togetherness” (in the cubes) will re-create the bonds of communication and creativity they believe to be lost…
At the same time, I noticed that Queen Marissa has converted an office next to hers into a private daycare centre, link here! So, where do I begin? Is it in the total hypocrisy: that the CxO suite get’s to make these top-down, autocratic, command-and-control decisions over the serfs, while enjoying special privileges themselves, which help negate those very dictates, by opening a private daycare for their own personal needs? Seriously? Oh yea, *that’s* leadership. Way to show them, HR and Marissa!
Or rather, am I more upset at the stupidity of such a move? What’s it really going to accomplish, and does HR and Marissa really believe that this move will help them once more “…become the best place to work?” (quote from the HR statement). Do they really think that working from home was a main reason they’re no longer on of the best places to work? And does HR and Marissa really believe that if you work from home, “speed and quality are often sacrificed…”? Really? Of course, that never happens when you’re forced to be glued into your cube… I hope you can read the sarcasm in my words!
By banning working from home, Yahoo! are adding control policies and spreading distrust, which will only serve to restrict the creativity, sense of (and real) freedom, and decrease motivation. Especially when combining this with the management hypocrisy – that’s like throwing salt in the wounds! This is nothing more than a punishment measure, which says: “we no longer trust you, those that work at home, because you all must be slacking and doing nothing.” Will that instill a sense of motivation, drive, and innovation amongst the returning people? Or will the feel pissed off, reprimanded, and will the best of them start looking for other jobs? Oh yes, the best of them. You see, HR seems to believe that this will drive away the “lazy” employees and slackers. I’ll let you in on a little secret HR: the slackers will ALWAYS find a way to slack in the cubes, or wherever they are. That’s why you shouldn’t hire them in the first place, and why these policies will do nothing to weed them out. They’ll slack forever, hidden behind the cube-barrier, with their mail client open, looking busy.
Stop the stupidity
So while Marissa will always be flexible in how she works, even enjoying her nanny-in-house and I’m sure having various and numerous offsite meetings-on-the-go, she’s asking her colleagues to reign in their freedom and work under an umbrella of mistrust. How have we become so stupid to think this will increase the engagement of our colleagues? Is this Yahoo’s! best idea for a turnaround strategy? When will we start to understand that a return to autocracy isn’t the best way to promote creativity and innovation? How creative do you feel, when you’re restricted? When flexibility for yourself is removed, while the same freedom’s for your bosses are preserved – even increased? Will the best employees put up with this, or will they find new homes where they feel more appreciated?
You cannot foster innovation, creativity, and unity by treating your colleagues unequally, restricting freedom, and breeding mistrust.