One Approach Does Not Fit All

Anne-Laure Fayard is an assistant professor of management in the department of technology management and innovation at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

As organizations become increasingly global and as technology allows managers to always be “on,” telecommuting and other forms of flexible work arrangements have become commonplace. Yet, some critics urge us to remember the needs of the “human moment” and how crucial face time is for developing trust. They argue that new media aren’t a good substitute for face-to-face interactions. The question managers should ask, then, is: Under what circumstances people should work remotely?

While organizations enact telecommuting policies in various ways, it behooves them all to begin by examining the DNA of their workplace culture. Is the work time-based (like “punching the clock” from 9 to 6 each day)? Or is it measured by deliverables so that it doesn't really matter where or how long staff members take to produce results? Getting it done is what counts.

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