WFH Vs WFO : Productivity Vs Visibility

Back in 2013, Marissa Mayer then CEO of Yahoo banned Work from Home. It was considered a reckless step to get Yahoo! back on track. Here was her rationale:

“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.”

Mayer was also upset that employees working from home did not sign in enough throughout the day. This was seen as a little illogical then.

As Cal Newport, author of Deep Work puts it:

Marissa believed that “If you are not visibly busy, I will assume you are not productive”

Knowledge work needs to be outcome-driven and not visibility-driven. This is very much unlike factory work where output is realized in the factory, visibility matters.

In a knowledge factory if you are visible and busy doesn’t necessarily mean you are productive. It simply means you are visible and busy. 🙂

What’s your take?

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