Lego Hamlet

28 Feb “To be, or Not to be, [in the Office] That Is the Question.” Should Work from Home Policies Still Be a Dilemma for Enterprises?

Borrowing one of the best-known lines from Hamlet’s greatest soliloquy seems appropriate this week. Much has been said in the past 48 hours about Yahoo placing a ban on its work from home policy. Many stories have been published about the news and the facts that potentially led to this decision including the one in The New York Times, the analysis from NPR, and even the personal opinions from other industry leaders like Richard Branson.

By now, everyone should be past the initial shock of Yahoo’s CEO decision. “How does she dare to ask people to show up at work – a real, physical office…are we going back to the Stone Age?” As a CEO, she deserves everyone’s support as she tries to course-correct the organization and reignite a healthy culture. What could be wrong with showing up in an office, meeting people, having conversations, building relationships, and then collaborating the good old-fashioned way?

As a company that sells collaboration technology, or as best described by our CEO Tom Kelly as a “technology that makes large companies feel small again,” we can’t avoid sharing our opinion. Tom constantly reminds us that a face-to-face communication over dinner is also a social and collaborative interaction, aside from activity feeds, wikis and blogs.

Our support for Yahoo’s decision can sound counterintuitive. However, I couldn’t agree more with Moxie’s experts, who are on the front lines of coaching companies about their use of collaboration technology, when they say that technology serves as lens into the organization, amplifying a company’s culture.

Make no mistake. We do believe collaboration technology can help Yahoo feel small again as an organization and innovate faster, but it is no remedy to set or correct either Yahoo or any other organization’s cultural issues. When Yahoo is ready, collaboration technology will serve them well.

Work from home policies were first implemented by organizations more than two decades ago, and we will continue to see them evolving in the years to comes to adapt to leadership, new generations entering the workforce and technology.

Face-to-face and in-person collaboration haven’t become passé. Never has, never will be. The only problem is that it just doesn’t sound cool enough.