Heading Back to the Dark Ages Courtesy of Marissa Mayer

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When it was first announced that Marissa Mayer would be the next Yahoo! CEO, I did a blog post explaining why I felt she was the wrong choice. At first, she surprised me and I expected to eat crow. That’s changed. Two things have happened in the last few weeks that have solidified my opinion of Mayer. First is the fabulously redesigned Yahoo! home page. Really? No – that was heavy sarcasm. The layout and functionality is reminiscent of a web page from the early 2000s. It’s antiquated and lacks visual appeal. With so much on the line, I expected her to break barriers and leave other sites in the dust. Fail.

That brings us to the second reason I’m certain my original mentality on her ability to do the job was spot on. Through the HR department of Yahoo!, Mayer just placed a ban on telecommuting. All remote workers are now faced with a monumental decision: transition to an office or be done. What a major step backwards for a company as supposedly progressive as Yahoo! and what a major blow to the telecommuting industry as a whole! There’s no logic in such a move and if this sets the stage for other companies, we are definitely heading back to the dark ages courtesy of Marissa Mayer. Thank you Mrs. CEO. For those of us who work from home and appreciate the ability to do so, we can now spend our days on pins and needles wondering if the rug is going to be pulled out from under us.

Here are some of my favorite comments following the announcement of her telecommuting ban:

Richard Branson (airline mogul and Knight): “We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.”

Peter Cohan, Contributor (Forbes): “Simply put, some jobs get done better if people interact in person and others are better done at home where workers can do their jobs more productively without interruption from others. Applying a meat-ax policy of requiring all Yahoo workers to report to an office every day is a bad idea.”

Sean Kirkendall (tweet): #Yahoo‘s kill of #telecommuting is a recognition of a failure to manage & lead. If ya can’t lead ur team, it doesn’t matter where they are!

Gary Swart (CEO of oDesk, an online marketplace for hiring remote workers): “Work is not one-size-fits-all—and forcing it to be may put your company on the road to extinction. Forcing talented employees into cubicles, set schedules or any sort of work ‘box’ is a good way to lose them, and trying to do so only limits a company’s productivity on one side and workers’ freedom on the other.”

Tony Bowers (Managing Editor of TechRepublic): “I agree that face time is very important in a company but I think there is more to be gained by allowing employees flexibility to get their job done where they want to.”

What do you think? Is her ban on telecommuting a logical step forward?

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