Did Marissa Mayer actually have a baby or was that like a ploy for press or something? To me, she just seems so out of touch with the reality of the American family. (If you haven’t heard, Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo!, recently pulled the rug out from under her employees on any and all flexible, work from home arrangements. This could potentially have a huge impact on working Moms.)
I could go on at length about how this absurd decision, which was based on a belief that working from home is somehow less productive than working in an office, negatively affects many more people than solely those with families, but for now, here’s an example of how ridiculous this new policy of “everyone in the office all of the time” looks in the context of a specific type of employee – a working mother of a new baby.
I’ve been that working mom with a new baby twice now, and when I returned from maternity leave, I was still trying to “breastfeed,” which was interesting when my nipples were at work and my baby was at home. Here was my typical “day at the office” as a working mother with a new baby at home…
Marissa Mayer, this is for you!
• Arrive at work a few minutes late due to chaos getting out of the house.
• Make presence known at work – “I’m here. I’m working. I promise…”
• Visit the bathroom to touch up streaking mascara from crying all the way to work.
• Call to check on baby.
• Check watch; Time to pump already.
• Do a questionable amount of work.
• Start thinking about missing the baby.
• Try not to cry.
• Time to pump again…
• Lunch hour! (Contemplate leaving and never coming back…)
• Attempt some more work, but decide to make a “quick call” to see how baby is doing.
• Breathe into a paper bag (baby was screaming and crying in the background during the phone call)
• Oops, “let down”… time to pump again!
• Have trouble staying awake to do work.
• Begin to worry that you’re going to get fired.
• Try to focus.
• Try to focus.
• Wonder if baby has stopped crying. Best to call just to check…
• Brainstorm financial alternatives to working away from baby.
• Get depressed when there’s no obvious solution.
• Go home.
I’ve heard my above experience with returning to work is rather typical. Now, I’m not a registered genius or anything, but if that’s true, it seems to me that being present in the office for someone like a new mother isn’t exactly the most useful approach. Maybe 100% work from home wouldn’t be the most productive solution either; I don’t know, but I do know that blanket decisions like this one that affect personal lives don’t work well because, Marissa, in case you haven’t noticed, you employ individuals.
So, you may be able to please Wall Street with your decision to completely axe all flexible work arrangements, but I believe you just pissed off and weeded out a very talented pool of current and future employees who I hope are able to find work with more forward thinking companies.
It’s like the saying goes “happy wife, happy life;” Well, Marissa, your “wife” is your workforce, and uhhh, well… good luck with that.