Chemistry can’t happen if the necessary elements don’t interact

There seems to be a bit of a brouhaha about Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer’s new edict that all telecommuting at Yahoo end forthwith.

I can see her point though.

It’s real hard to grow a unique culture if your employees don’t meet and look each other in the eye and cross-pollinate in real life.

Telecommuters. Let’s face it, you’re watching a lot more early morning TV than you’d care to admit.

Don’t lie to me now!

5 responses to “Chemistry can’t happen if the necessary elements don’t interact

  1. Margaret Mary Quite Contrary

    Ok, I love your blog, but dukes up on this one. Maybe some do, and those people shouldn’t be telecommuting. I hired one freelancer who wanted to work from home, but every project was late—even billed us a full day, while simultaneously hosting her child’s birthday party (thanks, Facebook). But, others I hired worked flawlessly from home. Depends on the person. I moved to L.A. and have been working remotely with agencies in Chicago and the east coast. I normally start when they do: 6:30 a.m. my time, and work until 5PM. No commuting gives me more time to work on projects. With advertising’s crazy hours, I can actually have a minute to throw my laundry in and walk the dog. Many creatives lean into that ADD spectrum, I know I do, so with fewer distractions (and fewer meetings about meetings), I work faster here. The place I’ve been freelancing at for the past 5 months told me, “It feels like you’re here.” I agree with your “looking each other in the eye” thing. The first 7 weeks of this gig, I went and worked on-site and met all the teams. Also little tricks like putting your picture in your email header help too—gives people a face to put with the name. With global work, everyone’s conference calling in to meetings anyway. Mayer’s the CEO, and the nice thing about that is, you get to make the rules. But as far as telecommuting in general, it works for some business, not for others. It also works on some personalities, not others. Get a telecommuting workaholic, and you get 10 hour days delivered with a smile.

  2. MMQC,

    I guess it’s based on preferences to some degree, and it’s also needs-based. If i hire a freelancer i want their energy as much as their output. and if they’re not on-site it can be frustrating when things are moving fast. I can end up spending all my time bringing them up to speed.

    and, obviously, certain tasks don’t require physical presence. But if you’re trying to come up with ideas fast, nothing beats inter-personal friction. That sounds a bit rude, but you know what i mean. winking smiley face.

  3. Vinnie,
    This is totally off topic, but I haven’t got your email address and it won’t fit on twitter.
    I met Ed McCabe for lunch a while back and mentioned you, later he replied on facebook:
    “I was very proud of having hired him and used to brag about how I hired waiters, cab drivers, fallen priests, and Irish horse and buggy drivers as copywriters because it takes real people to touch and move real people.”

    • Wow. Thanks for that Dave. Made my day.

      That’s meaningful coming from him. I was just about at the end of my rope when he hired me too. It came at exactly the right time.

      I’m only half-joking when i tell people it’s been downhill ever since!

  4. Well, at least according to this article over at Business Insider, Marissa Mayer took a look at telecommuters performance/time stamps and decided they really were watching a whole lot of morrning TV (or whatever other distractions of choice popped up for them):

    “After spending months frustrated at how empty Yahoo parking lots were, Mayer consulted Yahoo’s VPN logs to see if remote employees were checking in enough.

    Mayer discovered they were not — and her decision was made.”

    Read more:

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