Best Argument: Alive
Audience Favored: Alive (81%)
Innovation requires face-to-face interaction
Eileen Brown: In this global economic downturn many companies are struggling to survive. In this cut throat market innovation is key to business success. Companies cannot innovate when workers permanently work from home, using asynchronous communication such as Instant Messaging and email, and dialing in to calls and videoconferences.
Face to face interaction inspires and energises workers. Chance conversations in hallways and coffee areas can lead to the next new innovation. Group brainstorming can spark ideas which can get adopted across the company.
This will not happen when workers do not get the chance to regularly spend time with each other.
Occasional days working from home are great to catch up on email, do admin or work on documentation. Isolation from the rest of the team and the company can impact team cohesion, exclude workers from the day to day communication and pulse of an organisation and ultimately destroy workers’ morale.
Technology enables distributed teams
Dan Kusnetzky: Technology today makes it quite possible for teams distributed throughout the world to collaborate as closely as when everyone lived in the same office building and could walk down the hall -- if management awareness, processes and procedures make this possible. The technology is there. Only management willingness and a bit of forethought are needed. Most large organizations have become highly distributed and teams are split all over the planet.
What difference does it really make if those sharing the conference call are in official offices?
Why, then, did Yahoo’s CEO demand that all employees work from offices when it is quite possible for them to work remotely and appear in an official office only when needed? This appears to be an act of desperation having quite a number of unintended negative consequences.