This is a guest post from John Coakley, Vice President of Cresa Boston.
If you telecommute and work remotely, are you as tied into your company’s culture as those who congregate in one place every Monday through Friday? Are you as productive? Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, doesn’t think so, which is why she has banned telecommuting (Marissa Mayers Yahoo Mistake – It’s Not What You Think).
Mayer’s former role as a Google executive has likely influenced her position on telecommuting, as the major Silicon Valley based technology firms tend to encourage face-to-face collaboration as reported in USA Today recently. In a world where technology changes daily and our ability to “plug-in” from virtually anywhere keeps getting easier, it seems that the large, household name tech firms (who, in large part, help make remote working possible) are the ones that see the most value in having a majority of their employees in one place.
During the dot com era of the late 1990’s, the commercial real estate industry was genuinely concerned that traditional, brick and mortar office space was going to be a thing of the past and that everyone was going to work from home or the nearest coffee shop. What we’ve realized, however, is that people like to come together in the workplace to share ideas and socialize with their colleagues. Whether it’s collaborating with a team member to develop the next big app or chatting with a colleague in the kitchen during an afternoon coffee break, there’s a desire to be part of a community and contribute to the next big idea.
Marissa Mayer was brought to Yahoo to turn the company around and a big part of that is fostering a culture which will allow them to recruit and retain top talent. While some employees and prospective employees may be turned off by the telecommuting ban, others may be encouraged by a strengthened culture. Only time will tell, although a significant increase in their stock price since Mayer joined as CEO is a pretty good start.