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Yahoo sparks debate over working at home

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Should employees be allowed to work from home? That debate has erupted this week after reports that internet giant Yahoo is pulling employees out of the house and into the office.

The move is a bold one by new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who came to the company from Google to try to turn around its flagging fortunes. Mayer took the job in July, when she was five months pregnant. Yahoo stock was only $14.65 a share on Aug. 31 and has moved upward since her hire. On Tuesday morning, Yahoo was trading at $20.98 a share.

The Stanford-educated Mayer, 37, is the fifth CEO of Yahoo in four years, and one of the few women leading a Fortune 500 company. She also gave birth to her first child in September.

Yahoo made a controversial decision last week, when reports surfaced that the company had changed its policy on working at home. According to The Los Angeles Times, human resources officer Jackie Reses informed the staff, "To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.

"Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo, and that starts with physically being together."

According to Bloomberg News, the change goes into effect in June.

That announcement rippled across the web and television, igniting a new debate about the value of working from home.

According to the U.S. Census, 4.8 percent of American workers worked exclusively at home in 1997, compared to 6.6 percent in 2010.

Many companies have become more tolerant of allowing employees to work from home. Raleigh-based Red Hat, for example, said about one fourth of its 5,400 employees worldwide work from home.

"These people tend to be highly engaged, based on our surveys," Chief People Officer DeLisa Alexander told WNCN. "While we are mission-driven and passionate about Red Hat's opportunities, we do recognize that people need time to attend to personal and family matters, which is reflected in our approach to time off.

"In addition to the usual paid time off that we expect our associates to use throughout the year, Red Hatters can take leave of absence for personal reasons including bereavement, family difficulties, disability, education, and community or public service."

Yahoo has not commented on the announcement.

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