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Yahoo in a Gray Flannel Suit?

A  maelstrom of controversy is swirling around Marissa Mayer’s decision to force Yahoo telecommuters back to the office.  On the one hand, I admire her courage in doing what she believes is necessary to get Yahoo back on track.  On the other hand, this move flies in the face of the current wisdom that offering flexible work  options creates more engaged employees = better business results.  Much of the media coverage  has indicated, however, that doubts remain about whether this is always true. While productivity is generally believed to increase among at home workers, creativity can take a hit.

Of course, many jobs still have to be done in the workplace (nurses, cops, telephone linemen, the list goes on), but the increasingly common wisdom has been that we laptop-smartphone-google hang out equipped types can work from anywhere.  Mayer’s point is that as the frequency of unplanned and serendipitous interactions declines, so does creativity.  Take our poll and let us know what you think.  Read on below to hear what some of our board members think about this decision.  Although the specifics of their responses vary somewhat, all agree that Mayer’s goal is no doubt to help her company survive.  Only time will tell if this approach will yield the results she seeks.

Did Marissa Mayer do the right thing by ordering telecommuters home?

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David Creelman, CEO, Creelman Research

“Sometimes you need the face-to-face, elbow-to-elbow experience of everyone being in the same physical space. With Yahoo! facing so many challenges, now may be one of those times.”

John Hollon, Vice President for Editorial, ERE Media

“It’s easy to draw the conclusion that Yahoo! putting an end to flexible work arrangements is a turning back of the clock and some sort of statement about the viability of flex work. But I don’t think that’s the case. From all I have heard — including from some former Yahoo! managers who observed this first hand — it’s more about how in all of the upper management turmoil there over the last few years, the monitoring of flex time arrangements had gotten sloppy and hard to handle. Add to that new CEO Marissa Mayer’s experience at Google, where they have more of an all-hands-on-deck work philosophy without a lot of flex work, and you can see that this is more of an issue with flex work at Yahoo! given what Mayer is trying to do to revive the company than anything else. Flex work is here to stay and it is the smart thing to do for most organizations — just not for Yahoo! at this particular point in time.”

Sharlyn Lauby, SPHR, CPLP, The HR Bartender and President of ITM Group Inc.

“From my vantage point, this isn’t about Yahoo! taking away an employee benefit. It’s about them admitting (albeit very indirectly)that they didn’t manage it well. This is just how they are choosing to fix the problem. But it is also a lesson in new workplace norms being managed by old skool tactics. Businesses that want to take advantage of the benefits of telework or virtual work need to put measures in place prior to implementation – specifically, training managers to effectively manage a workforce they cannot see every day.”

Sue Meisinger, Former CEO of SHRM, columnist, speaker and consultant on executive management issues

“I think you have to look at the Yahoo! decision in the context of what they’re trying to get done – which is survive.   Bringing everyone back in house, and getting a better handle on productivity levels to ensure that everyone is rowing in the same direction is critical.  I doubt whether this is a long term strategy – workplace flexibility will probably evolve in a new way at the company as things stabilize.  Unfortunately, Yahoo!’s communication strategy was lacking:  there certainly are mixed messages when the company says employees can no longer work at home, but the CEO can build a nursery in her office.”

Media Coverage:



LA Times:,0,5913345.story

Boston Globe:

New York Times:

More Snow, Really?

It is going to snow this weekend – again – for the third weekend in a row.  Not fluffy delightful snow, but wet heavy snow that hurts your back to shovel and takes down tree limbs and power lines to boot.  Also the snow that keeps you from getting your errands done around town – because you need to bail out your own driveway, the roads are slippery, and you’d just as soon collapse on the couch and watch reruns of Game of Thrones anyway.

And as you GoT fans know, “Winter is coming”.  For those of us in the Northeast, we can’t wait for it to be going…Municipal budgets are drained trying to keep up with snow removal.  While the plowers and sanders are fully occupied, other businesses lose money staying open for customers who can’t get to them, no matter how stir crazy they’re going at home.  Per our cartoon above, employers struggle to fill shifts vacated by folks who can’t get to work.

If you are holed up this weekend, you can catch up with your WFI reading:

Oddball Interview Questions

What would you tell the 25 year old you?

Good advice for new managers on how to gain the respect of their teams:

Interesting look at the HR Implications of the State of the Union address:

6 Qualities In a Leadership Role Model via @hrbartender

Want Higher Productivity? Stop Treating Employees Like Children via @TIMEBusiness

[PHOTO] #HIMSS13 is only 2 WEEKS away! RT if you share our excitement!

Great Employees Are Not Replaceable via @Forbes

What HR Can Learn From Ben Affleck: Grace, Professionalism, and Argo via @TLNT_com

RT @williamtincup: RT HR Is Business Omniscience @KevinWGrossman

The Best Lessons Are Usually Found in the Wrong via @Ray_anne @blogging4jobs

RT @hrbartender: The Best Human Resources Blog – What Do You Think? #HR #leadership

Why Setting Clear Goals For Employees Is So Critically Important via @TLNT_com

Move Past Assessment To Action! via @TrishMcFarlane

Kronites are writing about:

New Time Well Spent #Cartoon:

RT @WF_Institute: New WFI blog post Those Canadians are Not Only Colder – They’re Older

Outsourcing isn’t about low labor costs anymore via @GreggLean

After V-Day, is the thrill gone? via @WF_Institute

[PODCAST] Great discussion about the #AffordableCareAct w/ @WF_Institute Board Member, Dr. Tim Porter-O’Grady.

How Mature Are You? Part 1: via @simonmacpherson @Kronos

#HIMSS13 attendees – want to learn more about Kronos? Schedule a meeting, sign up for our Balcony Party or both!

RT @AronAin: One year ago @KronosInc acquired @SaaShr. What a big success! And we are only just getting started.

Unlock the Big Value of #BigData via @IndustryWeek

Kronos Customers – Find out how KnowledgePass can help you improve user adoption of Workforce Central 6.3 & more:

No matter where you go, Kronos is at your fingertips. Watch our mobile solutions video:

Having difficulty resolving timecard exceptions, maintaining schedules,etc? We have a course that can help!

Talking about the Affordable Care Act with Dr. Tim Porter-O’Grady

This week I spoke with our board member, Dr. Tim Porter-O’Grady about the implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for healthcare providers and for employers.  If your organization employs more that 50 full time equivalent employees, you are no doubt already grappling with what you’ll need to do to comply with the act.

Tim, who consults with healthcare providers around the country, has a deeply informed perspective on what the ACA will mean for workers and employers.  In our conversation, Tim reflects on the increasing responsibility that healthcare providers have to ensure their services are delivering the best possible outcomes for the money spent even as the pressure is applied to employers to ensure that employees can get the heath services they need at an affordable cost.

You can listen to a podcast of our conversation here: PPACA compliance podcast

In order to ensure compliance with the ACA and the drive toward evidence-based medical practice, both healthcare providers will be increasingly dependent on technology to track costs and predict outcomes.  Other resources that might be useful to you and your organization in understanding the ACA:

Navigating the Affordable Care Act: Avoiding Penalties  and Minimizing Costs – Kronos Webinar on March 6 at 11:00 am PT/2:00 pm ET

Mercer Report:  Health Care Reform After the Decision.  Mercer surveyed 1,215 US employers shortly after the Supreme Court decision last summer upholding the act.  This report provides a brief overview of the provisions of the act relating to employer responsibility for providing employees with affordable health insurance as well as those employers’ assessments of the financial impact the Act will have on business.

As Ben Franklin famously noted, “An ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure”.  What’s your organization doing to prepare for the ACA?  And what are you doing to help employees manage their own health?