Marissa Meyer Wants Us to Quit Whining and Go Back to Work

Want to find a way to stir the pot amongst employees who have telecommuted for nearly a decade? Simple – tell them it’s time to ditch the sweatpants and sherpa slippers, put on something presentable and come to work five days a week. Sure, you can easily communicate with your co-workers via skype, email, text, Facebook or Gmail chat, but at Yahoo, nothing beats spending quality cubicle time with your fellow employees.
Just so you know – I don’t work for Yahoo, but I’ve been to their New York offices and the place is wall to wall cubicles. People don’t talk much since they are usually emailing other people but nevertheless, they are together. But will that camaraderie foster more productivity? As someone who has telecommuted for nearly 14 years, I have to say a five day work week in the office doesn’t make you more productive — it just enables your boss to know you are readily available for meetings that go on for eternity and keep you away from your massive to do list. It also frees you up for conversations around the Keurig machine and encourages you to make Happy Hour plans with your co-workers.
Don’t get me wrong – when I worked five days a week in a corporate office — I really enjoyed it. In the mornings, my co-workers and I would catch up on our evening festivities much like Kelly Ripa does with Michael Strahan every morning. We then attended a staff meeting, participated in conference calls, answered phones, emails, etc. and for the most part, we got some work done but definitely not as much as I did when I was home cruising through my to do list like a speed demon.
The bottom line to all this work life balance controversy is that in this day and age, there is no reason for a CEO to change policy and inform their staff they are doing away with telecommuting. We are all connected to servers, emails, texts, etc. In fact, though many of us are not brain surgeons, we hold our smartphones as a lifeline to the outside world — reading and responding to emails constantly even if they have no bearing on our personal or professional lives.
I truly hope that Yahoo is instituting this new plan so that their employees can shut down their computers at 6pm, go home to their families and not have to think about their respective deadlines until the next day. The telecommuting generation has become a 24/7 existence so if Yahoo has decided to set boundaries by instituting a workday that lasts a limited amount of hours, I am all for it. However, if their plan is to have their employees work five days a week and respond to their bosses after hours too, then therein lies the problem.
Something’s gotta give and if going backwards is Yahoo’s strategy – I truly hope their employees can roll with the punches, step into their respective time machines and experience life the way it used to be — when we spent five days a week at an office but were able to unplug the moment we bolted out those revolving doors.

MBA Moms Weigh in On Work Life Balance

Just received a link to this post from the Wharton School of Business regarding parenthood and the work life balance. If you’re on the run – here’s what these women in finance had to say about pursuing a career in their field. If you’re a junior associate on Wall Street don’t expect anyone to give you any sort of break if you have kids and still plan to climb the corporate ladder. Translation – it’s better to start out without kids, put in those monster hours and then by the time you get married and become a mom, if you’ve earned respect among your peers as well as your colleagues in your professional network, then you’ll be able to call the shots and achieve the work life balance.
While I tend to agree with these panelists, there are plenty of women I know who were in finance or law and had to jump off the corporate ladder because their bosses felt it was an all or nothing prospect. What I hope for my own daughter is that one day she’ll be able to truly select the career of her dreams without having to stop halfway because she can’t figure out how she’ll put in an 80 hour work week without shortchanging her kids.
Do you believe the work life balance is truly attainable or are we all just kidding ourselves? And as a former VP I have to say, a big title is nice but nothing beats having my own work schedule where I can call the shots and be there for my kids when they need me.
In other work related news…a sad day for Blackberry…
And while we’re on the topic of work/life balance, did you hear that President elect Obama is going to have to give up his Blackberry when he takes office? According to the NY Times it looks like Obama’s days of texting friends, family and co-workers may soon be a thing of the past. As a fellow crackberry addict, I have to say I think we all should join Obama in solidarity on inauguration day and take a break from our gadgets – but thank goodness for us we’ll be able to turn them back on. Here’s a suggestion – maybe Obama can buy Malia a phone and log on as her alias. And that’s why I will never be President of the United States.