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Female Yahoo! CEO Kills Work from Home Option? Why Americans Need a More Flexible Workplace

How are you supposed to raise a family these days without a flexible work schedule?

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Working from home or flexibility in general isn’t a panacea, especially for low-wage workers, for whom “flexible hours”  can mean the employer being capricious about hours or not providing enough of them, rather than more autonomy. And I get the desire to have employees bond in the flesh. But that has to be an opt-in, one greased by all those famously awesome perks on tech campuses, like free food and on-site leisure facilities. Some people will always prefer to work in an office for their own reasons, including maintaining a separation between work and home, or because their home is somewhere they’d like to get away from. But a one-size-fits-all workplace is one that is bad for people who can’t drop everything for the water cooler.

My reasons for working from home happen to be selfish, and I happen to be able to avail myself of it because my work rarely requires physical presence, or any physical labor at all, unless typing counts as exertion. But “work-life balance” — a terrible phrase that makes it sound like a luxury good rather than a just provision that improves productivity and morale — only works when everyone feels like it’s their problem. That includes the person at the top.


Irin Carmon is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @irincarmon or email her at

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