Yahoo has been struggling to regain significance in the IT world. Unfortunately for them, the recent announcement by their CEO (Marissa Mayer) to end telecommuting is likely another step towards their ultimate irrelevance. Is Yahoo the new MySpace?

Mayer contends you have to be physically in the office to be productive. She says there are too many distractions at home. I think she is missing the mark here.

The world is full of talent and it’s costly to relocate them. To compete today, you have to pull from this world-wide talent pool and that means allowing remote workers, at least some of the time. As well, I have found that many computer programmers are SIGNIFICANTLY more productive at home than in the office.

Here are the telecommuting benefits that Mayer seems to have overlooked:

  • Increases Productivity “in the zone”
  • Boosts Morale, increases retention, reduces stress
  • Forces use of efficient technology
  • Better tracks productivity and results
  • Sick? Stay home & work!
  • 1-2 hours extra work each day
  • More ecofriendly

What would happen if 40% of the US work force worked from home 1/2 of the time? Fortunately, there’s a study for that:

  • $200 billion productivity gains
  • $190 billion savings from reduced real estate expenses, electricity bills, absenteeism, and employee turnover
  • 100 hours per person not spent commuting
  • 50 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions cut
  • 276 million barrels of oil saved, or roughly 32 percent of oil imports from the middle east
  • 1,500 lives not lost in car accidents
  • $700 billion total estimated savings to American businesses


Way to Go, Marissa Mayer.

For those companies who want to succeed, here’s how you implement telecommuting at your organization:

  1. Define specific accountability measures: (e.g. Tickets closed, tasks completed, availability, Scrum story points, etc.)
  2. Put it on trial: Pick a day (Wednesdays are good)
  3. Measure, Evaluate, Decide

When’s the last time you used a Yahoo product?