WHEN Marissa Mayer arrived as chief executive of Yahoo!, she promised to change the culture of the embattled search company so that it became “the absolute best place to work”.
The former Google executive was quick to introduce free food in the canteen, to do away with compulsory gym inductions, and to offer iPhones to all employees.
But now Ms Mayer has made a change that will not be quite so popular. From June, Yahoo! executives will be banned from working from home.
In a memo addressed to “Yahoos”, the company’s term for staff, its head of human resources said they needed “to be one Yahoo!, and that starts being physically together”.
“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important," said Jackie Rees. "That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings."
Although most businesses already insist their staff to attend their place of work on a daily basis, Ms Meyer’s decision marks a radical step in the technology industry where working from home is standard in many of the most successful companies in the sector.
Many Yahoo! staff joined the company partly because of its flexible work ethos, and some of the several hundred employees affected will need to move house in order to attend the office every day.
Critics have accused Ms Mayer of taking the company back to the 1980s but it is thought she was concerned that some Yahoo! employees who work from home were not productive enough, and that that the company is unnecessarily bloated.The move is expected to trigger a flurry of resignations among Yahoo! staff unwilling to make the change, enabling the company to reduce its headcount without expensive redundancies.
Ms Mayer joined the company in July last year, and has helped to restore some faith in the business which had lost its way under a string of short-lived chief executives. Yahoo! was one of the most successful technology companies around in the late 90's but its search engine, which was once the mainstay of its business, has fallen far behind that of rival Google's.
By Katherine Rushton, Telegraph