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When Yahoo! selected Marissa Ann Mayer as their new CEO, I took a deep breathe.

“This lady is now in the spotlight. Good luck,” I said to myself.

It was immediately obvious that everything she did was going to be second guessed and over-analyzed. I was not alone with this thought. Most the HR world, especially the ladies in the field, said the same thing to themselves. (Because yes, her gender has something to do with it all.)

Then it happened – Mayer canceled the Yahoo! telework policy. I saw the news at work while browsing the Internet at lunch.

“Oh boy. Here we go. Now we get to over-analyze teleworking,” I moaned.

Here is a perfect example from ORC International:

“New research from global market research firm, ORC International shows that 65% of Americans believe that telecommuters are actually productive when working from home, but not all Americans are convinced – 29% say telecommuters are mostly ‘goofing off’ when at home.

Sparked by Yahoo! and Best Buy’s move to halt the telecommuting option for employees with the hopes of sparking innovation, teamwork and revenues, the survey also shows that the majority of Americans are willing to give companies that stop offering the telecommuting option the benefit of the doubt. By a 51% to 41% margin, most Americans believe that if a company stops allowing their employees to telecommute, it is because there is a legitimate reason to do so and the business will run better as a result.

Business reasons aside, there are clearly perceived benefits to telecommuting among the public. Overall, more than four-in-ten (43%) say that people who telecommute have a better “work-life” balance versus only 19% who say that balance is worse for telecommuters. Additionally, more than half (51%) of those who say they are currently full-time employed believe telecommuters have a better work-life balance.”

Wow. Great information about what the general public thinks about teleworking. Can we stop now, please?

Mayer’s decision was not about teleworking or even innovation and collaboration – it’s about redefining Yahoo!’s culture.

She adopted a community in decline. The fact that an employee leaked the memo about the telework policy cancelation demonstrates that (as does their stock price).

Think about your own organization. How many innovative retention practices do you have? The volume of these things equates to the trust the organization has with its talent and vice versa.

Do you have simple casual Fridays or are you scared someone might come dressed like they are headed to a club after work?

March Madness is around the corner. Have you prepped the annual memo about losing valuable production time because of office pools or do you have plans to set TVs up in the break room? Do you have a break room?

Obviously we can go on all day long with cool programs and benefits that may or may not apply to your organization’s office environment, philosophy and culture. But it all comes down to trust.

Does the organization trust employees to do their work? Do the employees trust leadership’s ability and desire to take care of them through employment and sound management? Has everyone been clear about their expectations, responsibilities and capabilities? Are you hiring based on all these principles?

At this point I’m not reading about a lot of trust over at Yahoo! – thus the need for the CEO to bring everyone back together; realign priorities and policies; and reset the organization’s internal guts. That has to be done first or the company will continue to decline financially.

Let’s hope Yahoo! gets it right so we can stop reading about telework policies and nurseries/daycare at the office.

I wonder if they have nap rooms…

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