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Former Member

It’s been a few weeks since Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer sent out an email to her employees calling for all telecommuters to start reporting to physical office locations – and pronto. Naturally this sparked quite the debate online and everywhere about work-at-home policies. Some find Mayer’s move “absurd” and some say “she has no right” to force employees to work in the office. Others think that she has made the right move in bringing Yahoo! back to prominence by promoting collaboration and innovation. Best Buy seems to agree with Mayer. They ended their work-from-home program soon after Mayer's email hit the web. But what do people think?

The first place many people go with their opinions is the internet. Whether it is on Facebook or Twitter, blogs or forums, people love to speak their mind. Especially on matters that affect their daily lives. With SAP Social Media Analytics by NetBase, we can listen in on the debate and pick up on how people really feel about the topic of work-at-home.  Now that the chatter has cooled a little bit, let’s take a look at what the people have to say! Click on the graphics to enlarge view.

Mayer’s email to Yahoo! employees was sent out on Tuesday, February, 26th. Looking at the past 30 days of sentiment, it is hard to miss the surge in activity around this date. Twitter and blogs seem to have the most chatter and if you look closely, negative sentiment was starting to brew.

Here we can see the top terms and attributes that are being associated with work-at-home. Focusing on the attributes cloud, the top positive attribute is money. This is highlighting the argument that telecommuting is less expensive than maintaining brick-and-mortar office space. The largest negative attribute states that telecommuting is bad for business. Collaboration is very important to many companies, especially tech companies that are focused on staying innovative. Why else would companies like Google make their offices fun and quirky? To ensure their employees love going in to the office every day!

It is apparent that people are not receptive to the ban or abolishment of work-at-home policies. It seems that people are upset about the all-or-nothing approach. Perhaps companies should look into encouraging physical time in the office rather than forcing it? With many people concerned about the policies of their own workplaces, it is no wonder that there are strong emotions reflected in the sentiment. People are saying that work-at-home options are a good thing and that some prefer working virtually. However, according to the chart, it is not for everyone.

The gender breakdown around sentiment is slightly higher for women. This is interesting to note because of the amount of buzz around working mothers and their important tie to work-at-home policy. Here we also have insight into the most popular domains, brands, and hashtags. Yahoo! certainly caused a stir!

We even have the ability to see where the conversation is taking place geographically. Not only can we see that the US is dominating the conversation, we can see that California seems to be a hotbed for the debate. Influence from Silicon Valley could be a major catalyst for these results.


Yahoo!’s new policy is meant to revitalize the innovative spirit of the company. No one will know whether or not banning work-at-home outright is effective until we see some results. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see! Now it’s your turn to weigh in on the debate! What are your thoughts on working from home?