As A Feminist, I Was Probably Too Hard On Marissa Mayer’s ‘No Telecommuting’ Policy

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shutterstock_50754181__1366464582_142.196.167.223Marissa Mayer finally offered an explanation about her now infamous “no- telecommuting” policy. Sort of.

She was delivering the closing keynote at the Great Place to Work conference at the Hyatt Regency Century City in Los Angeles on Thursday, when she finally decided to address the “elephant in the room.” CNN Money reported, “Immediately an image of a purple elephant, with large while letters “WFH” (work from home) painted on its side, appeared on projection screens in the hotel auditorium.” And they say she doesn’t have a sense of humor. Right? Didn’t somebody say that?

She defended her decision by re-iterating what was in the email she sent to employees when she announced she would be ending the telecommuting policy. She believes people work better when they are in the same space together. Why she waited two months to address it is a little baffling. If she would have explained her decision sooner – she probably wouldn’t have received as much criticism. A cut-and-dry email to employees followed by no response to the public just made her kind of look like an a-hole. But since when do CEO’s of giant companies have a problem with that?

She made a smart move by illustrating all the great changes she’s made for the company, instead of spending too much time explaining her decision to change a policy that only affects roughly 200 of Yahoo’s 12,000 employees.

Before joining Yahoo, Mayer worked at Google – helping to shape a company culture that landed them the number one spot on Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.  From CNN Money:

In the first nine months of her Yahoo tenure, Mayer threw out the company’s overly complicated 22-page travel and expense policy and ordered a revamped version “that humans could understand.” She also distributed smartphones to the staff and offered free food at the office — both staples at Google (GOOG).

There are obviously a lot of things that she is doing right. As someone who works from home, I admittedly felt for those who were having the rug pulled out from under them. I may have been a little harsh on her workplace strategy. It was a knee-jerk reaction, I admit. I do still believe that incorporating telecommuting into the corporate structure is strategy of the future. But I also believe that as CEO of a troubled company, she should be allowed to make hard decisions to make her company better.

I guess I am guilty of wanting to see a pregnant woman in a powerful position celebrate her pregnancy, take the leave mothers deserve and stand up for feminism. She did none of that. I hate that – but at the same time I respect a woman who makes a decision and staunchly stands behind it. She knows what she’s doing – as evidenced by her past corporate success. Sorry for slaying you for not being the feminist icon I wanted you to be. I can still respect you for being a damn good businesswoman.

(photo: bikeriderlondon/