Marissa Mayer announced a progressive paternity leave policy at Yahoo! Especially considering recent Yahoo! decisions, these policies represent an important step forward for working dads everywhere.
Fair or not, when Yahoo! hired Marissa Mayer as their CEO, Mayer had to know that her status as a thirty-something first-of-her-generation new mother female CEO would attract a lot of attention, and that many would look past her impressive qualifications (degrees from Stanford, a staggeringly productive career and rise up the ranks at Google), and focus instead on the symbolic nature of her position- especially when it came to work and family considerations.
The early returns on that front, well let’s just say, were not so good.
Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to examine the media’s response to Yahoo’s ban on telework. Much analysis, by “journalists” and experts alike, missed the point entirely. I explain where so many went wrong.
I promise this is the last I’ll write about this issue unless there’s some new development
Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban working from home for all employees was rightfully a hotly debated topic. Considering the steady rise of telework over the past decade, the increased attention to work-family issues, and Mayer’s high visibility as the first female CEO of her generation (who was hired while pregnant and recently build a posh nursery for her baby in her CEO suite), you had all the ingredients for a big story.
I’ve long believed that businesses would become much more flexible and progressive when it comes to work-family issues when those of my generation rose to positions of leadership.
Current 40-somethings are the first to grow up with dual-career couples for parents, while mostly being in dual-career marriages in their own lives. This generation of leaders is also more diverse and gender-equal than any that came before. This perspective, I’ve always thought, would finally lead to widespread understanding that workplace flexibility is not just a nice thing to do, but is good business- keeping step with our changing world improves a company’s ability to better attract and retain top talent.