Both companies are explaining their change in approach in the context of a call to arms to re-engage the workforce in transforming the business. There are lots of quotes about collaboration and the creativity and energy that comes from working with your team.
And it's probably fair enough. And it's true that changing times call for new ways of doing things.
But why didn't these idealistic approaches accommodate the change these companies needed?
I suspect that it has to do with commitment.
We commit to people. We are loyal to people. When we don't mix with people in a social setting we lose our place in the community, and a feedback system spins up where loyalty atrophies.
So an alternative to abandoning ROWE and WFH would have been to build better online collaboration spaces. I imagine that would have been a superior approach for Yahoo! as it could have helped them spin up new business propositions.