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Farewell to Pajamas

- Marzo 6

Most of us only ever encounter Yahoo! in the virtual world. Turns out we’re not alone: many of the 14,000 employees of the web pioneer work from home. Or rather, worked from home. Starting in June, they’ll have to trade in their pajamas for jeans, because CEO Marissa Mayer will be expecting them at their Sunnyvale headquarters.
 
It may seem like a counterintuitive decision in a digital world to have employees come together in a physical space, but it also highlights the one thing that is needed more than ever today: collaboration.
 
“We need to be working side-by-side, that is why it is crucial that we all be present in our offices,” read Mayer’s surprise memo to employees. Her words convey a key insight into organizational development: interaction must be encouraged... facetoface. It’s the only way to generate an environment of true collaboration and trust.
 
Telecommuting gained momentum with the advent of digital technologies over the past 10 years, and perhaps especially in the last three. But experts say it fosters an individualistic mentality and diminishes teamwork.
 
The idea of working remotely was that it would connect work with the lifestyles of newer generations, across different cultures and different time zones.  But instead of promoting productivity and collaboration, it has lost its allure as an effective solution, as people abused the privilege. Various leaders at top companies have come to recognize this.
 
But collaboration is more than just being together in one building. To encourage collaboration, organizations such as Yahoo! must also make physical changes. In today’s world, there’s no room for enclosed spaces or secrecy.
 
Territoriality is over. Cubicles, private offices, closed doors—all gone. The world’s leading companies are betting on open spaces to encourage dialogue and collaboration.
 
Of course, change is difficult, especially for those higher up the corporate ladder, who struggle, and will continue to struggle, with this new collaborative approach, where everyone works together toward a common goal. This collaborative approach demands accountability and a “no excuses” dynamic.
 
On my last trip to Mexico, a vice president at Unilever—the consumer products giant—spoke to me about his experience in an open workspace, f working without glass or walls dividing people, just long tables and a few conference rooms. Effectively, employees sit next to each other without regard to rank or department.
 
We are in the midst of a new trend: the coffee house replaced by the office coffee pot—which is arguably just as good, if not better. The difference is that if we’re together, we communicate better. And if we work together, we all win.

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