Much talk has been made about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's recent decision to effectively end work-from-home privileges for Yahoo employees – and we can only imagine the kind of water-cooler conversations that are happening at Yahoo headquarters.
However, it's also been alleged by a number of those either connected to Yahoo employees or former Yahoo employees themselves that the company's remote working policies were lenient, at best. To phrase it another way, a number of people are coming out of the woodwork to say that some Yahoo workers routinely abused their work-from-home privileges to such an extent that the company was paying them to do virtually nothing.
According to an anonymous ex-employee, speaking to Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson this past week, Yahoo's flexibility with remote work helped foster a climate featuring, "people slacking off like crazy, not being available, spending a lot of time on non-Yahoo! projects."
"It was a great way to get Y! to pay you while you put in minimal work and do your side startup," the source added.
The descriptions sound like exaggerations at first. But if you know anything about Mayer, you know that she's big on using data to get a sense of the big picture – after all, everyone recalls the famous story of how her inspiration for the look and feel of Google's homepage came not from an aesthetical touch per se, but what raw visitor data was telling her about what users thought of the various design variables.
According to some new reporting by AllThingsD's Kara Swisher, Mayer has apparently been combing through the company's VPN logs to discern just what, exactly, its remote employees have been up to. And, as it turns out, a number of employees weren't even signing into to the company's VPN – which is to say, they weren't working unless they had some magical, yet-unheard of connection to the company's network that doesn't require any kind of external validation.
Although pundits have suggested that Yahoo's new "in the office" policy might do more harm than good, especially as the company seeks to attract top talent within a Silicon Valley landscape known for perks upon perks, other sources have commented that Mayer's move signifies that she's in "crisis mode." Or, to phrase it another way, requiring employees to physically go to work is a quick and easy way to jump-start collaboration and get everybody enthusiastic about Yahoo again – in addition to booting out less-productive workers who either refuse to play ball or otherwise can't hack it when faced with the confines of a normal day in the office.