Balancing work and life
Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, recently caused an uproar when she declared that everyone working for Yahoo must show up at the office---no more telecommuting. She's doing it for financial reasons and as CEO she has to answer to shareholders. I get that. She's also doing it because she believes face time at the office helps create a productive work enviornment. But this policy has a built in possibility of backfiring.
Nearly half of the workforce in the U.S. today is made up of women (48.7%). A great many of those women work from home as they try to balance work and life. It's a challenge. Many work until their children get out of school and then pick it up again back at the computer at nine o'clock at night. It's not fun but it is reality, as women try to juggle things while helping to pay the mortgage. More and more families rely on two incomes these days. And, let's not forget that many moms are single moms so they are the sole providers supportting their families.
I don't pretend to have all the answers. I'm certainly not the head of a large company who has to make tough decisions. But I do know that by cutting off all the hardworking women who are trying to balance workplace and family, decisions like Yahoo's will do more to hurt in the long run, than help. If women can't telecommute, many might have to quit. That will not only hurt the economy but it will hurt the company in question. Women bring a lot to the workplace. Not only are they academically intelligent but they also have great ideas.
We need choices and in this day and age where we have the technology that allows virtual working spaces, rather than dismantle the idea of telecommuting, we should embrace it. And this is not just an issue for Yahoo. Our technological advances have put us in a great situation, allowing for more options when it comes to the working world. All industries can and should consider things like flex time and telecommuting.
It's not easy being a working woman with children. But the dynamics of the workplace and workforce have changed from what they were a generation ago and it's time for companies to catch up. Some have. Others need to do a better job.