re: Yahoo Flap Misses The Bigger Point
I find this article to be spot on. From the outside it has certainly felt as though one cause?/consequences? of Yahoo's floundering over the past few years has been the lack of a clear identity. You can't just shoot a dart at a dartboard and say OK, this is how we'll react to the new reality. You have to say this is who we are and this is what we do in the new reality.
That can't come from the top down. No matter what course senior management adopts, there has to be a cohesive underlying corporate culture to back up the promises and slogans with enthusiastic and effective execution. I can understand why Yahoo mgmt may feel that for now that means that employess need to be in the office for that to happen..
No disputing that social media, networking applications and the ability to telecommute effectively are wondrous things. Everyone benefits when commute time goes away and when that trip to the pediatrician can be a long lunch instead of a full day off. Still it shouldn't even need to be stated that an IM, a Webex, a Skype conference call, even a corporate social network-none of these are replacements for actual human contact.
My current experience is illustrative. I've happily worked from home 2-3 days a week for several years. I've always gone into the office when it mattered and I've always been allowed to be at home when it mattered. When I'm at home, I work more not less. When I'm in the office I network more effectively. Win-win.
For the past six months I've been forced to work at home full time. A temporary family situation was immediately followed by superstorm Sandy-which severely damaged my office building. I've got all the tools I need at my disposal and on the surface things are going smoothly. But I'm feeling more and more out of the swim, disconnected. It's getting harder and harder to motivate myself to perform optimally. I'm looking forward to our reopening in two weeks.
I can imagine the drift that's been happening in a company that didn't have effective controls with hundreds of employees who never came in at all, some of them apparently logged in for foreshortened hours. I can fully understand why it may be necessary for now to take away this privilege to get things in order.
One hopes that they'll take advantage of this new policy to consciously work to break down silos, to improve networking and communication among employees. One also hopes that they'll evaluate the child care issue sooner than later. Finally one hoeps that as soon as it makes sense they'll evolve to a more flexible strategy that supports telecommuting on a part-time basis at least for those whose job descriptions, personal situations and work ethic warrant it.