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Yahoo! Telecommuting Ban Comes After Monitoring Employee VPN Activity

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Yahoo.com

There were plenty of questions after Yahoo announced its ban on employee telecommuting – some panned the decision as an affront to workers (particularly female employees) while others noted the inherent risks and problems with telecommuting. Now, PC Magazine has reported that Yahoo executives decided on the ban after using company VPN logs to find some remote workers slacking off.

VPN stands for "virtual private network" and is the secure connection that permits employees to work remotely while providing the security, functionality, and internal IT management policies of a private network. It's the internal IT management policies that permitted Yahoo to snoop and catch its employees slacking.

[A] number of people are coming out of the woodwork to say that some Yahoos routinely abused their work-from-home privileges to such an extent that Yahoo was paying them to do virtually nothing.

According to an anonymous ex-Yahoo, speaking to Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson this past week, Yahoo's flexibility with remote work helped foster a climate featuring, "people slacking off like crazy, not being available, spending a lot of time on non-Yahoo! projects."

"It was a great way to get Y! to pay you while you put in minimal work and do your side startup," the source added.

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According to some new reporting by AllThingsD's Kara Swisher, [Yahoo! CEO Marissa] Mayer has apparently been combing through the company's VPN logs to discern just what, exactly, its remote employees have been up to. And, as it turns out, a number of employees weren't even signing into the company's VPN – which is to say, they weren't working unless they had some magical, yet-unheard of connection to the company's network that doesn't require any kind of external validation.

– David Murphy, Mayer Used VPN Logs to Find Some Remote Yahoos Slacking

Anyone running a business where employees can time shift or do part of their job from home has likely run into similar issue. It seems like companies should have a right to monitor their employees at-work behavior – what do you think of Yahoo's use of VPN monitoring to justify its telecommuting ban?

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