Yahoo! boss has a point about ‘remote’ working

It may come across that I am rather cynical about the latest business and marketing trends. While this is not strictly true, it does help to create a good debate. Now I would like to extend this cynicism to the modern approach to team building and line management.

Secret Marketer

I was amused to read that Marissa Mayer, the relatively new chief executive at Yahoo!, is to implement a ban on staff working from home after 1 June. She explained her decision by saying: “To be one Yahoo! that starts by being physically together… communication and collaboration is important… and 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.”

Mayer is going against the general trend – and recent surveys show most “knowledge workers” in the UK work from home for at least part of their week. Nevertheless, I think there is merit in her argument.

In the “good old days”, when putting a stamp on a piece of targeted marketing resulted in people actually worrying about where it was being sent, I could see all of my team from my desk.

If I wanted to know the latest position on a campaign, I could just wander over to my product manager’s desk. If I wanted to brainstorm a new proposition, I could summon a few members of the team into a room. Now, I have to ‘instant message’ them, or set up a webcast, or do something equally impersonal.

While I am a huge fan of modern technology, nothing is quite the same as seeing the whites of people’s eyes.

Marketing is a strategic science but it also requires creative empathy.

I am sure some business functions can be separated out into ‘shoeboxes’, just like typing pools.

However, if we are to retain that creativity and build strong, supportive teams that are closely aligned and which learn from one another, then co-location is critical.

Marketing is about engagement. It is touchy-feely, it has personality – it cannot be conducted over the ether. Or can it?

Recommended

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Discover even more as a subscriber

    This article is available for subscribers only.

    Sign up now for your access-all-areas pass.

    If you're an existing paid print subscriber find out how to get access here.

    Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

    With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

    > World-renowned columnists

    > Analysis & case studies

    > Exclusive leading-edge insight

    > Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

    > Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

    Subscribe now

    Got a question?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

    If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here

    Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

    With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

    > World-renowned columnists

    > Analysis & case studies

    > Exclusive leading-edge insight

    > Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

    > Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

    Subscribe now