An Ideal Work Environment Creates Ideal Productivity Levels
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer recently announced to her employees that they could no longer telecommute. According to Mayer, the move was intended to increase productivity and strengthen company culture.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe that this strategy is sustainable long-term. Increasing productivity is all about establishing the ideal situation for your employees. Mayer is trying to convey a message of consistency and ideally this will foster company culture. However, given our society’s values and the technology available, it will be difficult to make this work.
In an ideal situation working from the office does increase productivity. But realistically, it’s a different world now, both culturally and technologically. These days, employees expect a strong work/life balance and they want to be closer to their families. Technology makes it easy to work remotely, and given these factors, it’s almost impossible to require employees to work solely from the office.
It should also be noted that there is no single way to increase productivity. It’s what works best based on the conditions. Given what you have inside a particular company, you have to do what is best for those employees. If you always do what is best for the employees, you will get them to be most productive.
As business owners try to promote and sustain company culture, working remotely does create some challenges. If you have remote employees, you have to think of ways to promote your company’s culture remotely. You have to create rituals, practices or meetings designed to bring people together. It requires imagination and creativity on the part of the business owner, and managers, to create and sustain a strong company culture remotely. And when you do bring remote employees together, you have to do things to reinforce and continue to build that culture. Culture doesn’t just happen in these situations – it has to be planned and carefully executed.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the CEO to create and maintain company culture. He or she needs to embody that culture by always displaying the values of the company. This is true whether the employees work remotely, or whether the entire team is under one roof. Without someone guiding and supporting the culture, it ceases to exist.