I think I understand Mayer's reason for looking to revamp the off-site work policy at Yahoo. Lots of work-at-home employees, in a company that has been flailing for years, is not going to be the most productive configuration of workforce.
However, I find it hard to believe that Mayer thinks that a sudden pendulum shift in this policy will bring the company directly to the optimum configuration. In fact, I would strenuously argue that having no one working from home/off-site is "way, way far" from the optimum. But I can see that such a "shock treatment" might be correct for Yahoo right now — possibly... (maybe?). It sends a strong message, shakes things up, may lose a lot of dead wood (and some stars?) — perhaps from a legal HR standpoint, it's just the easiest, most practical, lowest risk way of doing it... (?). It's like pressing the reset button.
Perhaps not surprisingly though, after the announcement, so much of the almost-always-polarized media discussion seems to have confuted the logic of the Mayer's management tactic with the larger question of achieving an optimal workforce management strategy/configuration.
In our industry, we must certainly know that Mayer's move is hardly an assertion that at-home and off-site work is a simply "a bad idea" to be abandoned. Instead, the optimal balance of such at-home/off-site work with on-site employee/contractor work is something that must be looked at and decided upon down to the level of each and every worker and job: what is appropriate in each case, including considerations of whether the at-home/off-site work arrangement is permanent (always and forever), of a limited duration, sporadic (eg., 3 days out of office, two days in, every week).
In summary, I seriously doubt that Mayer is suggesting that modern forms of work arrangements be bombed back to the stone age. She is simply taking a radical management step in trying to save a failing business. The overall question of how specific work arrangements should be configured to reach maximum productivity and meet the needs of any organization and its talent should be analyzed and discussed independently of this management tactic. And it is up to the staffing industry to clarify any creeping bias associated with Mayer's sweeping policy change.