Yahoo won't let its employees work from home anymore

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Posted 2/25/2013 by peapermint in NSBR Board
 

peapermint
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:17:39 PM
say articles and memo:

here and here

As someone who works from home full-time (not for Yahoo), I think this is a big step backward. The memo includes the line:


"Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home."


What do you Peas think? Ignoring the fact that I'm perhaps ironically Peaing during a work break.

Annabella
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:19:40 PM
Didn't the CEO work from home right after she had her baby? After all she took no maternity leave, but I doubt that means she walked into the office immediately after birth.




IleneTell
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:23:08 PM
I guess it means they feel very strongly that people don't do as good of a job when working from home. Obviously, it's an increased expense to them to have people working from the office, since they will need more space. So they must feel that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Maybe it's a postive chantge in view in some way. If you feel you need employees to be in the office rather than working from home, it minimizes chances of outsorching to other countries.




hop2
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:24:13 PM
I do not work from home, I can't. But DH does and the company gets way more work out of him when he does. When he goes in he leaves @ 6am and gets home at 6:30-7pm but there's a commute of 1 hr 20 mins at the best of times. So he works say 7:30am to 5 ish pm while at work and needs to go out for lunch.

While at home he often works 6:30am-6pm and rarely takes more than 20 mins for lunch so when he's home the get at least 2 hours a day more from him. And he's salaried so they aren't paying any more for that.

tracylynn
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:27:31 PM
I think it's a step backward and disappointed that she would do that.

I've read some articles that speculate she's taking a hard line because she feels it makes her look like a tougher CEO.

Mostly I think it makes her look like an idiot.



I-95
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:27:48 PM
As attractive as the proposition is, I suck at working from home. I'm too easily distracted.

I suspect that Yahoo has studied the situation and discovered that they are getting less productivity from their WAH employees than they do from the ones who come into the office. Too bad because it's a sweet benefit for those who are are able to shift their heads into a WAH mode.

peapermint
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:29:05 PM
Part of what rankles me is that surely many of these people accepted jobs with Yahoo under the expectation/agreement that they would be able to work from home, or telecommute a couple of days a week as-needed.

I don't like when companies change the rules in the middle of the game. I mean, I know "it's the economy" and "they should be glad they HAVE a job" and all that, but it smacks of employers wanting people to feel lucky to work for them rather than making the employees feel valued for their skill, experience, productivity, etc.

I personally feel like I get more done working at home. But it is hard to discipline against distractions. I don't feel like I'm cheating anyone -- I track my time to the minute.

busypea
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:32:32 PM
I *suspect* that this won't be permanent. The culture at Yahoo needs to be changed and it is harder to do that when the employees are working remotely. It is much easier to feel disconnected from the company when working independently at home without any colleagues. Even if you're doing great work and are productive, it's a lot easier to tune out the corporate stuff that's not directly related to your particular position.

I think Mayer is probably doing this to refocus the company in advance of major changes she has planned. Once she feels like the corporate culture has changed sufficiently, I'd bet this policy is softened or eliminated.

peapermint
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:36:35 PM

Once she feels like the corporate culture has changed sufficiently, I'd bet this policy is softened or eliminated.


Even so, I'd think it would be hard to rebuild a culture of mutual trust and respect after that.

I'd always be wondering what they'd "take" next (benefits, etc.)

Annabella
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:37:34 PM
What do you think she wants to change in corporate culture?




Compwalla
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:38:43 PM
The scuttlebutt is that she's doing this to trim the workforce without doing a formal layoff. There are a lot of people who will completely bail if they can't work at least part of their week from home and she knows it. Recruiters have already sent emails and letters to a bunch of yahoo employees and I'm sure a lot of them are going to bail. If I took a job with the understanding that there would be flexibility and they yanked it arbitrarily, I'd be pissed off and probably bail as well. For all the people who have to start commuting every day, it's a pay cut.

She doesn't seem to buy into the idea of work/life balance. That and yahoo is spinning the drain already. No thanks.


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busypea
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:39:40 PM

What do you think she wants to change in corporate culture?

Everything.

Yahoo has floundered and lacked a real identity for a long time. Is is a tech company? Is it a media company? Is it a search company? What is their speciality? No one knows anymore. When was the last time Yahoo did anything innovative?

They need focus, goals and vision to re-emerge as a contender.

not2peased
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:41:13 PM

I *suspect* that this won't be permanent. The culture at Yahoo needs to be changed and it is harder to do that when the employees are working remotely. It is much easier to feel disconnected from the company when working independently at home without any colleagues. Even if you're doing great work and are productive, it's a lot easier to tune out the corporate stuff that's not directly related to your particular position.

I think Mayer is probably doing this to refocus the company in advance of major changes she has planned. Once she feels like the corporate culture has changed sufficiently, I'd bet this policy is softened or eliminated


interesting...I think you are onto something



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busypea
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:43:58 PM

The scuttlebutt is that she's doing this to trim the workforce without doing a formal layoff.

I am sure this is true, too.


peapermint
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Posted: 2/25/2013 2:46:53 PM
One of the things I love about working from home is the almost complete lack of "office politics." Now, that was a real time-waster back when I worked in an office

Luvspaper
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Posted: 2/25/2013 3:01:33 PM

It is much easier to feel disconnected from the company when working independently at home without any colleagues. Even if you're doing great work and are productive, it's a lot easier to tune out the corporate stuff that's not directly related to your particular position


I work from home all but 3 days per quarter....This is the biggest negative that I have after 2 1/2 years of doing so. I can totally see how a company could loose its message/cohesiveness if too many employees work from home on a consistent basis. You are just not there to hear the office cooler talk or the spur of the moment brainstorming/meeting. Honestly, my coworkers tend to forget about me unless they need something!

moveablefeast
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Posted: 2/25/2013 3:09:00 PM
My observation after years of working with telecommuters and traveling employees is that they are the ones who are least engaged with corporate culture and the least visible as innovators and leaders. They probably have a bunch of people who want to live where it's cheaper, but still work for Yahoo - I worked at two large Silicon Valley tech companies (Google and Webex) who both experienced this. Telecommuting is a great theory, but there are several problems with it. One is the "I want to telecommute so I don't have to pay for daycare" problem, another is the "laundry break" problem, but the biggest problem is not productivity, it's relationship. You'd be amazed how important relationship is in the workplace, and how much gets done over lunch or while walking down the hall. It's the "telecommuters and traveling employees are less visible" problem, aka the "who is that guy anyway" problem.

It's particularly ironic that telecommuting at Webex didn't work, considering our product offering, but it didn't. Half the dev team wanted to telecommute, but the ones who were most engaged with the company were the ones who got up in the morning and drove to the office. You usually have to be present to really be a key player IME - you can be a great employee and telecommute, but I never knew a telecommute employee who had the kind of impact on day to day operations that an on-site employee did. A struggling company like Yahoo needs a crew of deep, creative, engaged, go-after-it types that can effectively work as a cohesive and nimble team. She is basically saying, if you want to be in this thing, you have to really be in it, and that means getting your butt here.

I reckon it would be quite different if pretty much everybody telecommuted and traveled. But it you have 80% of the folks working in an office and 20% working from home, it's my experience that telecommuting is, well, less beneficial for the organization than it is for the employees who do it.

eebud
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Posted: 2/25/2013 3:11:52 PM

If you feel you need employees to be in the office rather than working from home, it minimizes chances of outsorching to other countries.

As someone who has been working for companies that are outsourcing to other countries, you would be wrong. All this means is that those in the other countries have to come into their offices, which for the most part, is already required. With all of the clients I have supported, some of them will not allow an off-shore person access to their systems at all when they are not in the office. Some will, but not full time, only the occasional day at home like with a sick child or to support a production system issue during off hours.

My company is going from having a lot of people working from home and shutting down buildings, releasing leases, etc. to bringing people back into the office. They say they don't get the same synergy in the work groups when some are working from home rather than face-to-face. The thing is, at least in my case, we will never all be in the same place. We are an outsourcing company. Some of the people work on-site and others work from a remote site. It has been over 10 years since I have met any of my clients face-to-face and as far as the remote employees, I have met 1 in that time period and that is only because we both traveled to Philadelphia and attended a training class together.

***ETA My client that I support right now is in a different state and two time zones away and I am the only person in my state that is on this account. It would make no sense for me to go into an office. I would be working with nobody. LOL





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Posted: 2/25/2013 3:15:43 PM

My observation after years of working with telecommuters and traveling employees is that they are the ones who are least engaged with corporate culture and the least visible as innovators and leaders.


Where I work, I've seen the exact opposite. In fact, many telecommuters I work with work harder and more hours because they feel a need to prove that they deserve the luxury of working from home. We had a recent large national meeting where prestigious awards are given every year. Every one of those who rec'd awards for their work in the past year works from home at least partially and some full time.

In my department, it was found they couldn't get and keep qualified candidates without the perk of working from home. We use tools that keep us accountable.

It is hard to make that adjustment, I think especially for women. Working from home means its harder to ignore all the things you haven't gotten done over the weekend or to take "just a minute to throw a load in the washer". But I'm incredibly lucky to have this job and this ability to work from home and I will work 80 hours a week if I have to in order to keep it that way. And my leaders know it.


Joy


IleneTell
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Posted: 2/25/2013 3:18:31 PM

As someone who has been working for companies that are outsourcing to other countries, you would be wrong. All this means is that those in the other countries have to come into their offices, which for the most part, is already required.


Good point, never thought about that. Honestly, never gave this issue much thought at all since my job is not the kind you can do from home anyway.



scrappower
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Posted: 2/25/2013 3:18:46 PM
As a work from home person this is disappointing to me. We do everything at home. Even our extensive training was done at home using teleconference and Webex. It has be extremely profitable for the company I work for (HSN) and they only hire at home sales now and are moving that way for customer service too. I am just as productive as anyone else. There are only 28 in house people left at HSN for the call center in sales, that speaks volumes when you think that there are 1100 overall employed.

So some companies are successful with it and honestly I think it is the way things are going to go. Now we do go in for coaching/team building exercises, but nowhere near what it used to be....and those in our Virginia and Tennessee locations don't at all.



sunny 5
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Posted: 2/25/2013 3:23:03 PM
dh said this is old news...and there is a big rush for talent from anywhere...they are trying to shrink company. yahoo is not a top place to work right now...and this will make it lower. dh has telecommuted 3 days a week in his last job...he was plenty productive...but now he has to drive the hour to work.

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Posted: 2/25/2013 4:38:58 PM
Our office has seen a HUGE dip in productivity from the people working from home, so headquarters is trying to scale it back as much as possible.

I think there is a huge value in making peoplecome in to work. Productivity, a sense of connectedness in the organization, a sense of innovation. etc. Also, you miss out on developing a real rapport with your supervisor. This was one of the greatest gripes my former co-attorney had-she always complained that the Judge came to me with the most complex questions, that she had a better rapport with me, that I was her favorite, that I got the most interesting cases, that she had less input in the running of the team. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Well, guess what? She worked 3 days from home. When she worked at the office, she closed her door and didn't want to be "bothered, just informed."


She doesn't seem to buy into the idea of work/life balance. That and yahoo is spinning the drain already. No thanks.




I don't understand this assertion. Why is it a work/life balance issue? Just because your boss requires you to work from the office doesn't mean that he or she doesn't believe in work/life balance.


I guess it means they feel very strongly that people don't do as good of a job when working from home. Obviously, it's an increased expense to them to have people working from the office, since they will need more space. So they must feel that the benefits outweigh the negatives.



Not necessarily true. You have to invest in the technology that allows people to work from home and a lot of manpower in tracking productivity and making sure that people are actually working. Further, my office calls people at random to make sure that you are in your AWS, so it's not as if there are no costs involved in maintaining and properly monitoring people.


I don't like when companies change the rules in the middle of the game. I mean, I know "it's the economy" and "they should be glad they HAVE a job" and all that, but it smacks of employers wanting people to feel lucky to work for them rather than making the employees feel valued for their skill, experience, productivity, etc.


AWS is a perk, not a right.

scrappower
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Posted: 2/25/2013 4:44:57 PM
If my job suddenly changed saying we couldn't work at home I guarantee you that at least 50-75% would quit. That is the whole reason people take our job, especially since it is a 24/7 operation. I would be one that would quit. They have found that productivity is actually UP. But we are constantly monitored, our screens, our calls, everything. They can hear any background noise, you cannot have kids, pets, anything they can hear.



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Posted: 2/25/2013 4:47:55 PM
My husband works for a big time tech company (not yahoo) that has lax policies about working from home. It's a bit of a joke when you say you're "working from home" because everyone assumes you're off messing around. And I think that is true for a lot of people my husband works with. For him, he is less productive at home because there are more distractions- mainly me and the kids. If all our kids were in school and/or I worked full time he would probably accomplish more from home. But from his experiences with his coworkers I can see why there is negativity associated with it.


Monique

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Posted: 2/25/2013 4:54:25 PM

I think there is a huge value in making peoplecome in to work. Productivity, a sense of connectedness in the organization, a sense of innovation. etc. Also, you miss out on developing a real rapport with your supervisor.



I think it depends on what kind of organization you work for. I work for a big computer manufacturer and services provider. My team is all over the country. I have met my supervisor once. Going to the office would not help me because she lives in California (I am in Texas).

I do miss out on the "corporate culture" part of it. I miss celebrating birthdays, having someone to brainstorm with and having a personal relationship with my team. BUT, I can be super productive, can work when the weather is bad, can work while I am doing laundry, etc. I think that *I* miss out on the corporate life, but still give as much to my work as I would sitting in an office.




***ETA My client that I support right now is in a different state and two time zones away and I am the only person in my state that is on this account. It would make no sense for me to go into an office. I would be working with nobody. LOL


Mine, too.My clients are global. My team is spread out all over the country. I could go to an office, close my door and talk to them on the phone. Yeah.

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Posted: 2/25/2013 5:05:27 PM
Can't help but add some more things, from perspective:

As a WFH person, you do have to make sure you are "connected" with the people you work with. It takes effort. It's just another part of my work tasks. I attend at least 2 yearly mult-day meetings at a central location in which I must spend time making sure to connect with those folks I work with so we can reaquaint ourselves face to face. That goes a long way. It's then up to me to make sure that reconnection remains in place by reaching out to my coworkers, volunteering for projects (especially those that would put me in close contact with other team members), etc.

For the last 10+ years, my supervisors have ALL worked in another state. Even when I worked in an office. It's also up to the supervisor/manager to keep connected with their WFH direct-reports. If they aren't doing that, then they are the ones that should be looked at for not doing their job. Thankfully, that's not been a problem for me.

Do people who work from home sometimes take advantage of it? Yes. And if that's happening and it can be proven, then the person should be formally written up and put on probation. It's not fair to the rest of us that are working our hardest to keep this particular perk for it to be ruined by some fools who don't know how lucky they have it.

My local office was shut down in 2011. If I couldn't work from home (and there was a fight by many people to make it happen) I wouldn't have this job. After 16+ years, I really don't want that to happen. And I'm working very hard to make sure no one I work for wants it to happen either, no matter where I do my work from.



Joy


peapermint
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Posted: 2/25/2013 5:43:09 PM
Re: working from home being a "perk."

I think a lot boils down to what the original arrangement/expectation was. I quit an office job for a job that lets (in fact requires) me to work from home. If that changed, I would feel misled, betrayed, etc.

It sounds like Yahoo's employees don't have it in their contract and it must be a case-by-case basis like a "favor" or something maybe?


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Posted: 2/25/2013 5:52:14 PM
I wonder how many employees will return to Yahoo HQs. I am thinking of the environmental and traffic impact of that many more people going to work in a region that is pushed beyond reasonable limits. I used to drive back and forth to my aunt's, from the Oakland hills to Los Altos. Getting there took an hour mid-morning. Getting home could take up to 3 hours if I left any time after 3 p.m.



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Posted: 2/25/2013 6:15:39 PM

For him, he is less productive at home because there are more distractions- mainly me and the kids. If all our kids were in school and/or I worked full time he would probably accomplish more from home.

I do believe that work from home works best for those who are home alone or have a place in their home where they can shut themselves off from the rest of the household. About 7 years ago, my DH was going to take a few months off between jobs. At the time, we didn't have a dedicated office. My office was in the bedroom. I made it VERY clear before he did this that he had to find something to do because he might be off work but I wasn't. He was great about doing outdoor projects, riding his bike or doing other things to stay away from my work area so that he didn't bother me. He didn't come into the bedroom where I was working unless he absolutely had to. Kids were already out of the house before I started working from home. Every blue moon, my youngest grandson will come over for a few hours while his mother goes to the doctor or something like that. Unless he takes a nap, there is almost no way for me to get anything done.......not at his age. I make up the time during the week when he comes over. They ask me to watch him for a few hours during the day MAYBE 3 times a year. They understand that I am working and don't ask unless they really have no other choice.

***ETA One of my favorite things about working from home is not being involved in the office politics.

Also, there has been talk about working with your manager. I have two managers. One for my account (lives two time zones away) and my people manager who lives in the same time zone but multiple states away in Chicago, IL. I have never met either one of them face-to-face. I have been working from home successfully for over 10 years. Do I pea some during the day? Yes. I usually Pea when I am waiting for something else to finish. Or, I get to take a break just like those who are in the office.





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OKtrae
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Posted: 2/25/2013 7:36:31 PM
The IT area at my company recently lost the right to work from home. Too many weren't actually working. Couldn't be contacted during working hours, when they bothered to show on a conf call there were usually small children interrupting.

Several system development deadlines have been missed over and over. Something had to give so they can either get to the office or leave the company.


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Dancingfish
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Posted: 2/25/2013 7:47:13 PM
A few more thoughts to add to the mix.
I work for a small company in which 2 people work in a different state in 2 different time zones and then there are 3 of us in a regular office setting. I can tell you that not everyone is suited for wfh-- some people are not self starters and are easily pulled into other directions.

I work from home 1 day a week. And one of my other co-workers does the same. We coordinate which day.. I beleive that working face to face is important for team work...But I also beleive that there are plenty of tasks that can be done from anywhere. In todays world of webcams, google chats, email and conference calling there is no reason to feel like people can't work together from different locations.


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Posted: 2/25/2013 8:35:00 PM
I don't have a problem with it - she is the president and has the right to ask all the employees to work in the office.

I have worked at companies where working from home was permitted, imho, those that did, were not as engaged with the rest of the employees, and in a few cases were not as productive as the ones who came into the office every day.

irishscrappermom8
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Posted: 2/25/2013 8:41:30 PM
My company is in the process of a massive IT project. We are bringing in massive numbers of external workers. We got dinged by the Fire marshal for having too many people. Most of the externals have to come on site, so they do not have the ability to work from home. They are allowing some of us to work from home one day a week to ease the problems with parking, food issues, and office space.





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Posted: 2/25/2013 9:10:25 PM
My DH is one of those people who, when he goes to work, works hard without stopping all day long. He rarely gets on the internet, doesn't take lunch breaks, etc, so he doesn't get distracted in the ways employers often report about their employees.

That being said, if he has something major he needs to get done, he'll work from home for a day. When he's in the office people constantly come into his office and interrupt him, pull him into meetings, etc. He's fine with that when it's productive, but often those things can be counter-productive. So every once in awhile he stays home and he finds that he gets a lot more done. He still gets interrupted by phone calls and has e-mail he has to answer, but it's less distracting than having people pop into his office constantly.

I have to admit, however, that if it were me, I would probably have a hard time staying disciplined in a home setting. It would just be too comfortable for me.


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Laurel Jean
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Posted: 2/25/2013 11:04:12 PM
We started a work at home option about 2 years ago where I work. We have found that both productivity and quality have improved since then.

We have guidelines for those who opt to work from home: They must have a dedicated workspace with a door that locks; they must sign into Instant Messaging and be available via IM and their phone during their shift, and they must agree to attend onsite meetings as required.

Our people are very agreeable and happy with the arrangement. It works well for us

mebarnet
I am not the Pea you are looking for

PeaNut 434,276
August 2009
Posts: 7,484
Layouts: 8
Loc: Tarpon Springs, Florida

Posted: 2/25/2013 11:11:50 PM
I have worked from home off and on for years. Not only does it save the company and the employee on costs, I personally find myself more productive when I am working from home. I think you really have to be self motivated though, among other things, in order to stay on track.

Yes, I come to the board during working hours too! But, I still overall get more work done in the same amount of time vs going into the office plus, it saves me just over an hour a day in commute time.


Mari - Loving Scrapbook Generation kits and sketches!!!

2013

2012
12x12 double LO - 267 / 7 cards
2011
12x12 207 doubles / 8x8 39 doubles / 3 6x6 Holiday Daily / 20 cards
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