Yahoo CEO reverses no-telecommuting policy

Deciding factor: Not productivity gains, but profound wish to avoid engineering department's Friday Pants-Off Dance-Offs

[This is an April Fool's story. It is fiction, not fact even though it contains facts. --Ed.]

Yahoo has executed a dramatic reversal of its decision to bar its workers from telecommuting, a leaked memo reveals. In fact, the new policy not only allows working at home, it sets a mandate: Employees are ordered to come into the office only to meet with clients or for the occasional group get-together where videoconferencing isn't suitable.

A company spokeswoman declined to comment. Industry analysts, however, jumped on the latest memo as proof that the troubled company won't really effect a turnaround until it commits to a coherent management strategy.

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This memo is the latest in a series issued from CEO Marissa Mayer's office after Yahoo began implementing her original no-telecommuting policy. As employees came to the office every day -- many of whom had never worked in a corporate setting -- Yahoo faced an unexpected dilemma: employees clad in pajamas and worse in a work environment. One engineering department even held regular Friday Pants-Off Dance-Off events.

At first, other leaked memos show the company tried to educate the formerly home-bound employees in proper clothing standards. The initial memo, bearing the subject line "Pajamas are never appropriate for all-hands meetings," outlined the expectations of Yahoo's corporate dress code:

We maintain the same casual and collegial atmosphere that is the industry standard. And one of those industry standards? Pants. Or skirts, if you feel like that's more in line with your sense of style. We think Galliano's made some really great stuff for men. The point is, stop coming to work in your pajamas. Or your Benjamin Franklin-style nightshirts. And wear underwear.

Because employees ignored the educational attempt, a second memo informed middle managers that their annual compensation would be tied to how effectively they performed the new duties of "pants policing."

Several subsequent memos followed where management exhorted to employees that Zubaz were never, ever acceptable pants, leggings are not pants, and wearing pants did not exempt anyone from the "No shoes, no shirt, no salary" codicil in the employee handbook.

During this "pants policing" period, the company experienced a 5 percent drop in overall page views and, more ominously, a 2.5 percent slide in the stock price. "I'm not surprised," said IT Joint analyst Bob Lewis. "When companies focus more on where workers sit and what they're wearing, investors begin to draw negative conclusions about management's effectiveness."

Yahoo's stock had previously enjoyed a three-month climb after Mayer took over the company, but bobbled after the February worksite announcement brought unwanted scrutiny of the company's upper-management underperformance. It has not fully recovered. "Telecommuting historically introduces bottom-line productivity and operational gains," Lewis said. "Is it really surprising when the converse happens after remote working is prohibited?"

After Yahoo's biggest one-day drop, Mayer issued one final memo, reading in part:

It is evident that requiring you all to wear clothing that doesn't make one look like mental patients is beyond anyone's skill set. Because I'd prefer that our depressingly limited pool of competence be directed toward turning the company around, I'm dropping the rope on the pants deliverable. All of you, hitch up your sheer Lululemon yoga pants and head back to your home offices. I expect you to take the same time you used in not picking out decent clothing and redirect it toward the company.

Her memo concluded, "Get out. Now. If I never see your sad pajama bottoms again, it will be too soon."

In the 24 hours since the memo was posted to Reddit, Yahoo's stock has surged 21 points.

Please note: This is an April Fools' joke.

This story, "Yahoo CEO reverses no-telecommuting policy," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in April Fools' Day at InfoWorld.com. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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