When guru Tom Peters heralded the end of management in the 1990s, he spoke too soon – the freedoms promised by the knowledge society are dead.
A few years ago, Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer hit the headlines concerning a confidential memo she’d sent to employees. The message seemed to go against everything we know about how a high-tech, post-industrial economy operates. From now on, everyone must be present and accounted for at the office. Working from home is prohibited.
The memo was carefully worded in the language of collegiality and staff development. But employees understood its real meaning: if we can’t see you, we don’t trust you.
It wasn’t surprising that Yahoo staff were annoyed. We’ve known for years that employees are much more productive if they’re able to harness the freedoms that mobile technology can afford. Being chained to an office can be counter-productive in many occupations.