Even as a tech evangelist, I have to admit that there is something to be said about face to face collaboration and human networking. If this was not true, we would have several Silicon Valley companies established in the "second life".
Many, if not most companies, support an occasional work from anywhere day, or even have formal telecommuting policies for their employees (including Juniper). Such companies will likely make a strategic investment in collaborative technology to connect their employees to each other, thereby creating a virtual high collaborative workspace (including Juniper). Such companies may or may not be burdened with creating work spaces in high cost locations, and are likely to have the freedom to hire employees from anywhere in the world and truly be virtual and global.
Personally, I have seen employees be very productive working from home and contributing a great deal. But I have also seen employees abusing this work-from-home concept.
Other companies want employees to show up to a work location every day, establish connections, collaborate, and contribute. Such companies are likely to invest a lot of thought and money in designing collaborative work spaces, often in very high cost locations.
For years, people have been trying to figure out the secret sauce behind the rampant innovation within Silicon Valley. I would submit to you that one of the reasons is the high density of technology professionals interacting intensely on a daily basis.
Let’s put aside the issue of being able to work (or not) from home and focus on driving cultural change.
A CEO must be a CEO –and along with that role, must make a few bold calls and not try to win a popularity contest. At the end of the day, a leader must decide what sort of company culture best suits the company's business model. It is left to the leader to make the call on what kind of culture and work environment will enable the fastest turn around.
History will judge if Yahoo's Marissa Mayer made the right call, but the fact is, she did make a call. And she probably needs to make more bold decisions in order to steer her ship to new territories and reenergize a brand that, not too long ago, had so much mojo, and whose market capitalization has fallen from $125B in 2000 to $25B now.
Whether or not you agree with Marissa Mayer’s decision to eliminate working from home for Yahoo! employees, she has put a stake in the ground, and set out a tone for change.