How to Create a Chasm Between You and Your Employees Without Really Trying

Marissa Mayer, the perky-looking new uber CEO of Yahoo has been taking a lot of heat for her recent decision to eliminate telecommuting.

I’d much rather she tackle the problem of why I need to type in that squiggly anti spam code every time I want to send an email to more than three people.

But, what bothers me about  Mayer’s position is the same thing that bothers me about a lot of other things – hypocrisy.  I’m much more open to mere differences of opinion than may appear on first (or second) blush.  But when the difference is founded on hypocrisy, that’s a major hot button for me.

I agree with Mayer that telecommuting can be subject to abuse.  I also agree that we’ve managed to live in a civilized, industrialized society for a couple hundred years using a system where people congregate at one central work location.

On the other hand, just like technology and the work force itself has evolved, and given that we’re now a service economy, perhaps the old business model is outdated.  And, even if some telecommuters abuse the privilege, why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

So, the issue really isn’t clear cut. But, where Mayer loses my support is that she gave herself an on-premise nursery to aid her own childcare sitch, while expecting the minions to, I suppose,  just deal with it. That is way over the “what signal does that send” line, and firmly ensconced on the “eff you little people,” side of the ledger.  Short of hanging a sign on her door that says” I’m  more important than you because I’m richer,” it would be hard to imagine a more damning first official act of a new CEO.

Note to Marissa Mayer: All you’ve succeeded in doing is making them show up at work. Hopefully, somewhere in the nursery, there is a book on how to improve morale and productivity.

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