SAN JOSE (KCBS) – High tech workers say working from home is nothing more than part of the Silicon Valley culture. But, that appears to be changing – at least for Yahoo employees, who have been told to start working in the office by June 2013 – or quit.

That edict was issued by CEO Marissa Mayer last Friday. The confidential Yahoo memo was leaked by angry workers who claim to have been assured they could work from home when they were hired.

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“A large fraction of the people who work from home are the kind of people who are at Yahoo and are doing programming or technical support, things like that,” pointed out Stanford economics professor John Roberts, who co-authored a recent study on the effectiveness of working remotely. “And those are done perfectly well from home.”

“I’m quite surprised they would try this, this is going against the flow in every dimension,” he added.

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According to his research, allowing workers to conduct business from home actually increases productivity.

“I think that you have to figure out whether the job is well suited and you also have to give people some choice because in our study, about half the people who originally thought they wanted to work from home turned out to prefer to work in the office because they were lonely at home,” said Roberts.

Some analysts believe Mayer’s memo signals a roundabout cost-cutting move; the thinking is that the elimination of the telecommuting perk will be reason enough for some people to quit, thereby shrinking the company’s payroll without the company being the one to call for mass layoffs, per se.

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