Remote Working: Baby != Bath Water

Kara Swisher of AllThingsD posted the internal Yahoo! No-Work-From-Home Memo which effectively states that either you work from a Yahoo! office or you can quit - quit. Here's a snippet from the memo:

To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.
I can understand if the motivation was to cull the herd of certain unproductive individuals. Let's face it - not everyone is cut out for off campus work. Remote employees have to maintain rigorous self discipline and a bit of their own morale to keep pace with the tasks and people who have the benefit of all the hallway chatter. It can be tough on your own certainly. It has to be said, though, that some employees actually thrive working from home and removing this flexible option will cause those good folks to find other opportunities.

I have had remote employees for ten years now and have lived many of the challenges that can arise when you typically talk and work with someone via Skype. It can be at times MORE work not having someone down the hall. The condition demands from both sides an increased level of communication because it won't take place via happenstance. That said, not all managers are cut out to HAVE remote employees either.

The wonderful thing about our shrinking world is that as an employer you can choose to find talent anywhere - that's liberating. Enforcing a policy of move or die will certainly restrict the candidates available for a companies tasks and will place that entity in a challenging spot as their competitors snatch up the best people - wherever they may be.

Let's not make this a trend.