Working From Home - Does the Innovation Process Suffer?

Posted by Michele Nichols on Thu, Mar 07, 2013

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, is making a lot of headlines in bringing remote workers back to the office. The internal (company confidential) memos are all over the web, and everyone's talking about the fallout.

Many of the companies who work with us at PLS know we started to allow remote work as long ago as 2000. There are no air quotes when we say we're working at home. It's done to retain and support some of our key people, and to give them the space to create in the environment they need.

Here are some guidelines that have worked for us:

  • New employees always start in the office for several months. It's critical to get them acclimated to our culture, philosophy and processes.
  • Marissa Mayer is right that "the best collaboration happens in hallways." There is no replacement for this. Kickoffs, brainstorms, and key creative sessions happen live each week.
  • Know how and what you're measuring. Companies in times of change such as Yahoo! may need to call their people back for a reset. We get this. New leaders may need to change how they gauge the value of work. If you can't measure it beyond seeing someone sitting at their desk putting in the hours, you can't manage it. Customer satisfaction and end results with our customers' customers (i.e. sales) are how we know you're working on the right stuff.
  • Daily huddle: 10 minutes, full team, most live but some call in; this keeps us on the same page. Trello and GoToMeeting make up our toolbox of choice these days.

Our customers are all over the country and the world. Our ability to communicate and work effectively beyond the (ideal) face-to-face has improved with our ability to manage our own teams wherever they're working, be it here in Rochester, their homes, at times, or while traveling or at customer sites. We have better, more self-driven people for it, for sure.

What has worked for you?


Topics: Business Insights, Change and Innovation, Internal Communication