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Yahoo's work-from-home ban wasn't about boosting productivity

Posting in Technology

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has finally provided some insight into her decision to end the company's work-from-home policy.

It wasn't a bid to boost productivity, according to comments she made during her keynote speech at the Great Place to Work conference, reported CNN. In fact, Mayer hinted the decision likely weakened productivity.

"People are more productive when they're alone," Mayer said during the speech.

Mayer's recent comments appear to conflict with language in Yahoo's original memo leaked in February, which announced to employees the ban on telecommuting. "Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home," the memo read, suggesting telecommuting hurt productivity.

Mayer emphasized in her recent keynote that the motivation behind ending the work-at-home policy was a bid to create a more innovative, creative workplace. "They're more collaborative and innovative when they're together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together," Mayer said, according to CNN.

Mayer offered up the newly-launched Yahoo Weather app for iOS to bolster her point. The idea was originated by two software engineers who work in the same office, she said.

It's unclear how much innovation will ultimately be linked to the shift in policy. Of the company's 12,000 workers, only about 200 workers were affected by the change.

Photo: Flickr user Adam Tinworth

— By on April 23, 2013, 8:45 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure