Working, Yes Working, on a Friday Afternoon

As I sit here on my couch on a Friday afternoon, feet up on an ottoman, still lounging in my One Fish, Two Fish pajama pants, the smell of oatmeal cookies baking in the oven...all I can think to myself is that I'm glad I'm not a Yahoo. If I worked for Yahoo, my telecommuting days would be over.

But don't misunderstand the scenario here. Just because the scene is one of laziness, don't go thinking that there's any need for you to sneer and use those air quotes when you say, "Oh, he's 'working' from home."

I get far more work done on the days I stay home than the days I’m in the office. Much fewer interruptions at home. I guarantee you that my wife baking cookies in the next room is less of a distraction than Jim Montague conducting interviews in the next cubicle. And rather than the three hours of commute time that I spend on other days, I add those hours to my actual working day.

But now let’s talk collaboration. The key issue of debate at Yahoo, after all, is centered not only on productivity, but also innovation, collaboration and teamwork. Since I can hardly liken my days as a writer and editor to your days as a machine builder, I’ve been reading up on what the issues might be surrounding typical production environments.

One interesting take came from Andy Miller, president and CEO at Polycom, who argues that people need to stop looking at it as such a black and white issue: home vs. office. The real point is that teams are collaborating all over the world, and whether they’re in an office or in their home is hardly the issue.

Take a look at what Miller has to say. Does it ring true for you? What’s your perspective, and how has your team been able to work effectively – or not – remotely.

Aaron Hand is the managing editor for Control Design and for Industrial Networking. Email him at or check out his Google+ profile.