Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Did Yahoo Consider...

As an expert and promoter in human implementation planning to prepare your organization for virtual I have to weigh in on this Yahoo CEO decision to get rid of work from home.
I heard an analyst say that Yahoo didn’t prepare their leaders for working virtual hence the failure. So instead of fixing this issue in a cost effective manner by putting into place simple best practices to prepare managers and staff to work and lead in the virtual environment effectively, inclusively, productively, and innovatively the CEO of Yahoo has made the costly decision to bring employees back into a physical location.
Please allow me to list the ways this could cost Yahoo:
  • Decrease in customer loyalty. (If I had a nickel for every person in the last 24 hours I have heard say I will no longer use Yahoo because of this decision I’d be sitting on the beach retired somewhere.)
  • Decrease in employee engagement. (They alienated Yahoo employees with this decision. Employees are customers of the organization and just like with external customers you can give them something but don’t ever think of taking anything away.)
  • Decrease in employee morale.
  • Decrease in attracting great talent. (The most innovative, productive, and sought after employees in the globe want to work from home.)
  • Decrease in recruiting area. (You just went from the world being your oyster with endless pearls of people resources to choose from to a tiny geographic location.)
  • Decrease in business continuity preparedness. (Employees who are set up and trained to work from home are better prepared for business continuity in the event of a disaster. I remember the bomb threats and also during storms where all the calls from the contact center were routed during these events to the home based agents.)
  • Increase in remuneration costs. (Not being able to take advantage of market bearing labor rate savings in various geographic locations with virtual work offering.)
  • Increase in the cost from lack of retention and high turn-over. (Some of the Yahoo employee’s just don’t have the liberty of going back into the office because they have to be at home so they will be leaving for other companies that offer work from home.)
  • -Increase in insurance costs. (Employees who work from a physical office tend to be sick more often. Also there is a real thing medical doctors have found called “sick building syndrome”)
  • Increase in employee tardiness. (Let’s face it traffic and public transit delays happen)
  • Increase in employee sick days. (If you see an increase in powerful viruses in the Yahoo area in the next few months the CDC will know who to thank. At home employees are healthier employees. Medical and mental health workers in this area will benefit from increased patients though as physical office workers show an increased need in these services.)
  • Increase in employee stocking and harassment claims. (I remember dealing with this issue when I was a manager at one of my former organizations. One of my employees had broken up with a co-worker and it caused a world of issues where the police had to get involved and we needed to move them to separate floors.)
  • Increase in Union activity and negotiations. (Employees tend to join Unions if they work in a physical office environment so they can have an advocate to ensure their physical work environment is optimal.)
  • Increase in employee accident reports. (If an at home worker slips at home they don’t report it but if they slip anywhere at a physical office, they report it.)
  • Increase in security costs and risks to employees. (Examples:  9/11, Newtown. I’ll save us the horrific memories of all the loved ones that were employees that have lost their lives while at a physical office location.)
  • Loss productivity. (Report after report show physical office workers are less productive.)
  • Increase in inclusion and diversity as well as ADA complaints. (I know of a few companies that have avoided costly litigation because they have used virtual collaborative tools to still include their diverse workforce.)
  • Increase in real estate costs. (Additional space needed for the workers coming back into the office and the new hires.)
  • Increase in office costs: paper, pens, toner, etc. And not to mention necessary bathroom and other type supplies. (When employees are at home they tend to not use as much of these resources or use their own.)
  • Disgruntled employee attacks. This just in via posts I've seen from many friends. Many Yahoo accounts hacked.
  • Increase in carbon footprint as a company and I’m not just talking about carbon emissions from commuting. People who come into an office, in all the studies I have seen, have increased usage of packaged products. Example: plastic water/soda bottles. (This move may knock Yahoo off of the sustainable companies to invest in lists.)
Let's keep the list going. Please add your comments with your ideas about why virtual is better.
Thank you for taking your valuable time to read my blog. I appreciate you stopping by.


  1. Faith -
    You are right. You totally get the rolling impacts of this decision for Yahoo and other companies who are following this knee jerk reaction. What about employee morale? I imagine it takes a hit when your CEO has a built in nursery in her office, and you've had to move back to a town where 700+k is the average home value AND you've got no onsite daycare.

    It will be interesting to see the fallout of these decisions. I'll sure be watching.

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