Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer

Yahoo ban on home working accepted

Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer said a policy change barring employees from working at home has been well received internally and helped the company step up its introduction of new applications.

"I didn't mean for it to become an industry narrative," Mayer said at a conference sponsored by magazine this week. "We were just saying, it's not right for us right now.

"Everyone at Yahoo works in teams. I heard from a lot of people all around the company that the fact that our team is distributed causes drag."

As Mayer nears her first anniversary as chief executive, Yahoo has boosted its output of new web services and apps for mobile devices.

The introduction in recent months of programs for e-mail, weather and news was made possible by what she calls the "Reese's peanut butter effect" of helping people from different disciplines collaborate to create cool new things.

Made by Hershey, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is a popular chocolate-coated sweet.

"That only happens when people come together," Mayer said at the conference.

She stirred controversy in February when the company ordered employees who worked from home to begin reporting to offices. While the directive was aimed at fostering collaboration and boosting the speed and quality of task completion, it sparked concern that Yahoo does not place a premium on work-life balance or flexible work arrangements.

Alluding to possible products on the horizon for Yahoo, Mayer said the company is testing Google's wearable computer, Google Glass, to see how Yahoo's services might work with the device.

The technology behind Summly, the news-summarisation service founded by a 17- year-old entrepreneur and purchased by Yahoo in March, will be used in more mobile apps to simplify text-based content, Mayer said. Summly has received backing from Li Ka-shing.

As for Nick D'Aloisio, who became a millionaire after selling Summly to Yahoo, Mayer does not expect him to stay for long. "He's got to go to college," Mayer said. "Maybe we'll get him back … and he'll be a summer intern, but he's got to go to college."

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Yahoo ban on home working accepted