The Yahoo! Telework Brouhaha: Are We Getting All We Need From Remote Working?

I am sure everyone has seen the media coverage around Yahoo’s requirement that workers come into the office.   I read somewhere a compelling piece that telework is proven good for productivity, but coming into the office is better for collaboration and innovation and innovation is what Yahoo needs to focus on right now.

Surely there is a half way house.  Companies need both innovation and productivity. Furthermore, different roles require different amounts of each.   Seems to me there would be a way to have employees come into the office some of the time, on common days to allow for collaboration and innovation, but work from home on others to maintain productivity.

When I joined the workforce some 20 something years ago I was sent to training sessions to develop skills and techniques for running a meeting, delivering a presentation, interviewing, generating creativity and innovation.  I enjoyed them at the time and over the ensuing years increasingly appreciated the opportunity I had had as I put the techniques into practise.   But all of them, as would be expected at that time, were premised on a face to face interaction.   I don’t believe I have seen any sort of replacement training at the same level of intensity, on how to develop appropriate skills over audio, video and web based media.  We have all found our way best we can.

Have we unintentionally introduced a massive new system into the work environment without the corresponding level of cultural and skills support?  If so, we can be pretty sure that we are not getting out of it, nearly as much as we might.


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