Perhaps they will change the name of the company to “Damn!?”

Earlier this week Marissa Mayer, the relatively new CEO of Yahoo!, made the very controversial move of banning Flexible Work Arrangements. If not for a Papal search and Sequestration, this may be the leading story on the nightly news.

Not only do you have a rift in the ranks of working women, you will have an equally interesting paradox in the stance taken by Human Resources. How?

  • Ladies first ~ To sum it up succinctly, let’s just say that a lot of women are sincerely pissed. The concern, of course, is the risk of losing (or disengaging) a large percentage of available work options for women if you were to remove the ability to work-from-home. To women, it’s a step backwards – “When a working mother is standing behind this [Mayer is notorious for not only being a working mother, but for her 2-week maternity leave & building a nursery attached to her office], you know we are a long way from a culture that will honor the sacrifices that women too often have to make.” [AllThingsD, uncredited]

“Get a rope.”

Ouchie. Can you imagine if Marissa Mayer were Mitchell Mayer? If so, “he” would be on “The View” getting lambasted by the carnivorous hosts and audience and getting a daily barrage of hate mail. As it is, she’s being vilified as an oppressor for asking her employees to come to work. Her company is/was struggling, and she has taken some bold (and unpopular) actions. She also set the table for any old-school corporate leaders who think “work-from-home” is a pseudonym for “slacker.” It can’t be a coincidence that Donald Trump has publicly voiced his support for the move, right? All around America, work-from-home employees are puckering up, waiting to see how this impacts their perfect existence.

  • Human Resources ~ Can you imagine the gnashing of teeth going on inside the HR huddle? Never mind that the largest percentage of female   executives are in the HR function, remember that “Flexible Work Arrangements” are the absolute turnkey for many organizations when it comes to the Human Resources troika – Attracting Talent, Engaging Talent, and Keeping Talent. Holy HR Hand Grenade, Batman, the “Mayer Move” flies in the face of all of that, and will be especially unpopular with the women. HR professionals are used to being hated, but not by an entire segment of the population.

(It gets even better) The biggest push in all of Human Resources is the increased strategic involvement with “the business.” That explains the quote from Yahoo’s Chief HR Officer, Jackie Reses; “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo [sorry, that’s really, really unintentionally funny], and that starts with physically being together.”

Do you think she means it? What kind of feedback is HR receiving at the levels below the “Chief?” How many HR people still consider themselves an “employee advocate,” not a business partner?

This is great viewing, get your popcorn ready & stay tuned.