Kara Swisher

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“Physically Together”: Here’s the Internal Yahoo No-Work-From-Home Memo for Remote Workers and Maybe More

Lets_Get_Physical-feature

Courtesy of a plethora of very irked Yahoo employees, here is the internal memo sent to the company about a new rule rolled out today by CEO Marissa Mayer, which requires that Yahoo employees who work remotely relocate to company facilities.

“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” reads the memo to employees from HR head Jackie Reses. “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

Painfully awkward as this is phrased, it means every Yahoo get to your desks stat!

I reported earlier today that the move will apparently impact only several hundred employees, such as customer service reps, who work from home full time. But numerous sources told me that the decree extends to any staffers who might have arrangements to work from home just one or two days a week, too.

The changes begin in June, according to the Yahoo memo.

After that, employees who work from home must comply without exception or quit. One top manager was told that there would be little flexibility on the issue.

The anger from impacted employees was strong today, because many felt they were initially hired with the assumption that they could work more flexibly.

In fact, even waiting for the cable guy is questionable. “And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration,” wrote Reses.

The tone and tactics have infuriated some at the company. Wrote one impacted Yahoo employee to me: “Even if that was what was previously agreed to with managers and HR, or was a part of the package to take a position, tough … It’s outrageous and a morale killer.”

Most tech companies encourage workers to stay on their campuses, offering free food and other perks. But none enforce such rules beyond staff needed to operate an office.

“Our engineers would not put up with that,” said one tech exec. “So, we’d never focus on it.”

In the comments section of my first story on the HR change at Yahoo, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg wrote:

“For anyone who enjoys working from wherever they like in the world, and is interested in WordPress, Automattic is 100% committed to being distributed. 130 of our 150 people are outside of San Francisco.”

The issue is an interesting and controversial one, with some certain that working at home is the wave of the future, while others considering it hurtful to productivity.

Well, we’ll presumably see which this way goes in time.

Earlier, when asked about the change, a Yahoo spokesperson said the company does not comment on internal matters. The memo was released after my story on the change was published this morning.

But, you don’t need any comment when you can read for yourself the new working order at the Silicon Valley Internet giant:

YAHOO! PROPRIETARY AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION — DO NOT FORWARD

Yahoos,

Over the past few months, we have introduced a number of great benefits and tools to make us more productive, efficient and fun. With the introduction of initiatives like FYI, Goals and PB&J, we want everyone to participate in our culture and contribute to the positive momentum. From Sunnyvale to Santa Monica, Bangalore to Beijing — I think we can all feel the energy and buzz in our offices.

To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. 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. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.

Beginning in June, we’re asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices. If this impacts you, your management has already been in touch with next steps. And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration. Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.

Thanks to all of you, we’ve already made remarkable progress as a company — and the best is yet to come.

Jackie


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— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle