Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, has recently joined CEOs like Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer in making the unpopular decision to eliminate remote work options and require employees to come into the office – or quit. Hsieh cited a need for a “strong company culture” as the driving force behind his decision. “We want employees to be interacting with each other, building those personal relationships and relationships outside of work as well,” he explained, adding that “productivity increases” when these relationships play a role in the workplace because of “higher levels of trust”[1]. Hsieh and Mayer have been called plenty of dirty names in response to their decisions to eliminate their companies’ work-from-home options, including “traitors to working parents everywhere,” both firmly believe that they are doing what will work best for their companies at this time. Mayer believed that Yahoo! was losing serious money and creativity because employees were working as little as possible in order to run start-ups on the side and get home to work from there in comfort as quickly as possible[2]. Employees who did work from the office reported having three to six extra hours of work a week directly related to co-workers’ “working” from home instead of on-site.

Mayer did not simply demand everyone cover their desks at home and move back into headquarters. She did try to make the transition a smooth one. Free food in company cafeterias and Friday all-employee meetings where executives will answer any questions are just a few of her changes. Yahoo! reports that it is now receiving resumes from employees at competitors like Facebook and Google – something that rarely happened in the past.

By Carol VanSickle