Office vs. Office-less workers, HP/Yahoo! vs. 37 Signals

One of the biggest daily carbon footprints is the daily commute.  Notice how more and more start-ups are having workers scattered around the world?  I started a company with friends and we are separated by 900 miles, but we are on the same time zone.  Google Hangout is our main method of connecting.  Some may think e-mail is for the old guys.  Well we are a bunch old guys, and at the stage we are in now e-mail works to allow everyone to be in their own mode without an interruptions. This e-mail approach is opposed to a quick collaboration Agile type of solution.

Here is a post by 37 signals on their office setup.

“Everyone in the same office” is less true now than it ever was. People are waking up to the benefits of remote working. From quality of life to quality of talent. It’s a new world, and thus a new set of assumptions.

The interesting, and tricky, part of choosing a work pattern is comparing these different worlds. What’s the value of a group of people who a) can only be picked from amongst those within a 30-mile radius of a specific office, b) who have to deal with the indignity of a hour-long daily commute, c) but who’s Agile with that capital A?

Versus a team composed of a) the best talent you could find, regardless of where they live, and b) who has the freedom to work their own schedule, c) but can’t do the literal daily stand-up meeting or pair in front of the same physical computer?

37 Signals followed the above post with another one focusing on HP/Best Buy/Yahoo!'s call for "all hands on deck" everyone must be in the office.

Neither is the hilarious corporate doublespeak that’s being enlisted to make the case. Here’s a choice bit on just how important employees are to the Vapid Corporate Slogan of The Day.. uhm, I mean HP Way Now:

Belief in the power of our people is a core principle of the HP Way Now. Employees are at the center of what we do, we achieve competitive advantages through our people. HP has amazing employees who are driving great change.

So we have great people, but we can’t trust them to get anything done unless we see butts in seats from 9-5? Who cares whether all these great people have designed a lifestyle around not having to commute long hours or live in a given city. That’s all acceptable collateral damage in the “all hands on deck” playbook for sinking companies.

Having a space where you can do your best work is your goal. Some companies think this way.  Some don't.

What is so often true is management doesn't give you the reasons why they are changing policy.

It’s sad when you see once-great companies reduced to this smoldering mess of mistrust and cargo culting. But hey, at least we know now the pitch of the whistle that says its time to abandon ship. It’s “all hands on deck”.