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Over the past few years of the digital revolution, it has become pretty standard thought to assume that we can work from just about anywhere. The idea of working in a traditional office has been cited as a major turnoff for many of the youngest generation in the workforce. Many companies use telecommuting as a perk to entice workers who would otherwise not be part of the candidate pool.
Earlier this year, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced a ban on working from home and ticked off many of her employees – you could hear the gasps coming from all over the corporate world. Critics stated she was nuts and that Yahoo would lose any competitive edge that they might still have. Groups slammed her decision, saying that this new policy was going to hurt long commuters, working mothers, and the like. So how is it that Yahoo’s stock has soared?
Following in Mayer’s footsteps, HP CEO Meg Whitman recently announced that she wants most employees to work in an office, not at home. Although this is not a corporate-wide ban like in the case of Yahoo, she stated that “During this critical turnaround period, HP needs all hands on deck.”
Although it might be difficult to draw a direct line from this policy to Yahoo’s stock surge, it sure raises the question about whether in person collaboration is more effective then digital collaboration. Are ideas formed and implemented faster when groups are in person as opposed to on camera? Do the benefits of telecommunicating outweigh the results of in-person group activity? Will Yahoo and HP inspire your boss to ban telecommuting?
I don’t have the answer to these questions but would love to know your thoughts.