SUNNYVALE -- Appearing to acknowledge the uproar over its recent move to order telecommuting workers back to the office, Yahoo (YHOO) issued a brief statement Tuesday to assert that it wasn't offering a broad judgment on the practice of working from home.
"This isn't a broad industry view on working from home -- this is about what is right for Yahoo right now," said the statement from a Yahoo spokesperson.
"We don't discuss internal matters," the statement added, and the spokesperson didn't respond to further questions.
Yahoo's move has sparked a firestorm of debate -- on the Internet, on radio talk shows and in workplaces around the country. Critics blasted CEO Marissa Mayer, a new mother herself, for seeming to abandon what many view as a progressive approach to helping working parents and other employees juggle conflicting demands. But supporters said Mayer may be justified in trying to shake things up at the Internet company, which has gained a reputation for sluggishness while falling behind its chief competitors.
Mayer herself has not commented on the new policy, which was announced in a memo Friday that quickly leaked to an industry blog. The memo was authored by Yahoo human resources chief Jackie Reses, who said the company would benefit from insights and quick decisions that can arise from impromptu discussions in the workplace.
"We need to be working side-by-side," Reses wrote, before stating that all Yahoo employees who have been working from home would be asked to report to company offices starting in June. She added, "Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home."
Working from home is a common practice in many industries and in Silicon Valley, where tech companies often tout the benefits of videoconferencing and Web-based software that lets workers collaborate from remote locations. But some experts say companies also benefit when creative professionals, including software engineers, can share ideas in person.
Contact Brandon Bailey at 408-920-5022; follow him at Twitter.com/BrandonBailey.