What Telecommuters Need To Learn From Yahoo's Ban On Work-From-Home Jobs

Working from home was banned at Yahoo by Marissa Mayer.By Danny Rubin

This past Tuesday morning, a Yahoo employee probably sat down at his home office, checked his email and promptly spit his coffee into the air. That's because his boss, Marissa Mayer, announced through a company memo that, starting in June, staff can no longer work from home.

From the memo: "Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussion, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home."

Everyone who works from home (myself included) will agree that it can sometimes be isolating. That's why it's so important to remember this essential tele-working rule: over-communicate.

Working from home is a modern-day luxury, and we have technology to thank. Smartphones keep us connected to our email, Dropbox and YouSendIt enable us to share giant files, WebEx allows group conversation and Google Hangout puts us in (virtually) the same room. Still, none of these revolutionary tools work properly unless we do too. When bosses let us work from home, they expect us to get the job done but also to stay in contact throughout the day, every day.

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Here's the tricky part. The boss might not say outright: "I need you to keep me up to date on your progress." But that doesn't mean that you have a free pass to check in whenever you feel like it. Since a boss can't stop by your cubicle and see how things are going, it's your responsibility to maintain open and active lines of communication.

When it's appropriate to over-communicate:
  • After you finish a conference call and duties are handed out, send a quick note to your boss or the team and reiterate what you're going to work on.

  • In the middle of a long, drawn-out project and it feels like people haven't heard from you in a while, over-communicate. Send an email with relevant updates.

  • As much as possible, respond to critical work emails. Even a simple, "Thanks, I got it" will let the other person know you're in the loop. Remember: a co-worker can't yell across the office and say, "Did you get my email?" You could be 1,000 miles away in another state, so you need to over-communicate.

  • If you send an email and a person doesn't respond in a timely manner, you'll need to send a follow-up email. If the person doesn't answer the second time, pick up the phone.

  • Lastly, be detailed in your emails. It's much easier to explain yourself in person -- and annoying to type a huge description -- but the added specifics help you sound clearer. That, in turn, makes the workday smoother and your bosses happier.

Starting in June, Yahoo employees will surrender their ability to work from home. Cherish your own tele-work situation and never give your boss a reason to think it's time for a change.

Danny Rubin is a media consultant based in Washington, D.C. He also writes News To Live By, a blog that shows us the career advice that's hidden in the day's top stories. Follow him at @NewsToLiveBy.


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sids1stlady

I work from home & I love it! I make hundreds per week! I am looking for more people to join my team. If you want to work from home EMAIL ME! maximizeyourmoney001@gmail.com **NOT A SCAM** Legit & Legal!!! I am in need of Marketing Network Representatives who can work from home. Looking for serious people with the desire to start working NOW!! No sales, no buying, no cold calling. Perfect for stay at home moms, anyone in between jobs or anyone just looking to make some extra money. You choose your own hours & there are no requirements you have to meet – it is your own company… run it however you want! Please message me for my website & more details! Must be at least 18, have a computer & must live in US, UK or Canada. Once we connect, I will answer any questions you have.

March 21 2013 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AL CONFER

The CEO of YAHOO is dead on the mark. Working from home was trued and tried and it does not work. This working at home was to be a blessing for mommys and their kids and companys found out that mommys were not doing the job they were receiving a paycheck for. Kudoes to YAHOO's CEO for stepping up and telling emploees, we expect you to work for your paycheck and not be babysitting. I totally agree with the cEO.

February 27 2013 at 11:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jsoj7

Yeah let's take a step backwards^

February 27 2013 at 8:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Josh West

It's pretty obvious where things are heading and if companies don't embrace telecommuting, and remote working they will be left behind. But Keep in mind, this is Yahoo! we are talking about...

This infographic makes the future very clear - http://blog.hubstaff.com/virtual-team-management-trends/

February 27 2013 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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