re: Yahoo Flap Misses The Bigger Point
Wow, so the editor-in-chief of a business technology magazine doesn't think that collaboration systems are worth a bucket of warm spit. One has to wonder, do you believe in any of the technologies your publications write about?
Culture can be good or bad, and just because people are in an office doesn't mean that culture will improve. It can also facilitate group think and waste resources as people spend more time chatting in their open environment rather than actually hunkering down and doing work. Take a look at who offers up original, out of the box ideas in your organization - I'll bet a disproportionate fraction of good original ideas come from those who can actually spend some uninterrupted time thinking about issues and solutions. That's painfully hard to do in an open office environment. If you need meetings, have them. If you can't make a teleconference productive, it's not the fault of the medium or the culture, it's the fault of the leader, because others manage it just fine.
If you insist people work from an office, you are closing yourself off to a wealth of talent and diversity. The vast majority of people don't live anywhere near your or Yahoo's offices. Are you really willing to write them off? If original thinking is what you really value, then you should be open to the diversity that home workers can bring. Would you seriously not hire an ideal candidate just because they don't happen to live where you have offices?
And it terms of productivity, I'll bet if you look at your home workers and compare their output with their in-office colleagues you'll find that their output is as good or better. Offices, particularly the new fad toward open offices are distracting. There's always something to look at or talk about besides your work.
Those who distrust the value of home workers tend toward micromanagement. If the boss can't see you, how does he know you're really working at home? Measuring output and using data to judge both in-office and out-of-office workers rarely occurs to these people. How do you judge your direct reports, Rob?
Perhaps you long for the days of typewriters and rotary phones, but most of us have moved on and are better for it.