This story had escaped my attention...HP cuts back on telecommuting in the San Jose Mercury News:

Mott said by bringing IT employees together to work as teams in offices, the less-experienced employees who aren't performing well -- which there are ``a lot of'' -- can learn how to work more effectively.
Nothing like a multi-faceted morale booster all in one article.

My colleague Todd Watson picked up this story in his blog:
As someone who predominantly works from home these days, I obviously disapprove of this decision. As a patriot, I think it sends the wrong message about how we can effectively use telecommunications technology to help drive down our use of fossil fuels while remaining a productive American workforce. As a competitor, it makes me gleeful. I hope IBM HR recruiters are standing by the virtual HP exits to welcome fleeing HPers with open arms not interested in relocating to the cube farm.

While I agree with the article's suggestion that "there's a certain synergy when people are together in a room," I think there's also plenty of opportunity to strike a balance between physical and virtual presence. And, more importantly, to establish and drive new cultural behavior that takes full advantage of virtual collaboration while addressing its admitted shortfalls.
As Todd correctly points out, Lotus Sametime is one of several tools IBM uses to make telecommuting effective in our organization.  I haven't had a "real" office for six years, and I can't imagine going back to one.  I am certain I'm a hundred times more productive here, and I balance out the need for human contact by speaking at events, going to customer meetings, and participating in electronic forums and blogs.  Back to the cubicle?  Not me.

Link: "Turboblog": HP back to the cubicle >

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