How dare Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, a new mother for goodness sake, force employees to come to work! How dare she want employees to see each other! What could be good about people who work in the same company making eye contact? Shaking hands? Exchanging a fist bump?
Why that would mean getting dressed! Improving your hygiene! Finding transportation!
How can you solve major business problems or provide support services for those who do… if first, you have to solve the puzzle of how to get from your home to the office? If you have a new iPhone, you don’t want to map it out – you might wind up in the ocean. How dare your employer risk your life, after all: does she know you don’t swim?
Are you kidding?
The greatest opportunities you will ever have are the ones you earn via networking. You know, meeting other people. You have learned this before when you looked for a job. Personal connections – people who like you and trust you – are statistically the best chance, maybe the only chance for you to get a good job.
But then, you get employed. Don’t you get to stop networking? Don’t you get to go back behind your laptop, alone in your room? That is, until you need another job. Then, you’ll break out your one clean shirt, brush your teeth and maybe your hair, and start meeting people again. Right?
People who earn the most money see other people during work hours for work issues. CEOs meet with their boards. Startup executives pitch funding sources. Movie stars go to a set.
If Brad Pitt makes $20 million on a bad year – actually showing up to work: do you think there must be something better than phoning (or skyping) it in?
How many parties are you attending behind your laptop? How many Thanksgiving dinners, weddings, adoptions, New Years’ celebrations, Nobel prize acceptances, Buddhist retreats, romantic first dates, dog walks, shoulder rubs, comfort for the grief stricken, kisses goodnight, physical therapy sessions, outdoor camping days, and all the other events large and small that make up life; how many are you physically absent from?
Have you stopped showing up for your life? You stopped showing up for a good third of it, if you are in the sinkhole of home bound work. You’re stuck in your home – like that poor man just sleeping in his bed in Florida last week – are in a sinkhole, if you don’t get out of your house or the local Starbucks – who by the way you’re putting out of business by refilling your cup every two hours for fifty cents.
Yes, I have days when I work from home. I have people who work for my companies work from home. Everyone takes vacations. People give birth. Everyone had the flu for at least a week. A few of us spend nearly every morning at home because we live off the 405, which doesn’t move most of the day but is stopped up like Mumbai during rush hour.
But if we don’t show up day after day, week after week, months at a time – the connection between all of us frays. Sorry virtual assistants, but that’s not really a career path. It’s a business. It’s a job. But, it’s worse than being an intern if you work for a company.
When you are home, you are home alone.
We need your presence to include you in a tribal counsel. We need to move together like a basketball team. We need to make the large and small accommodations for each other that create goodwill. That is what makes our companies sustainable and profitable.
Do we all need to be together everyday? Probably not. But we need to show up often enough so that seeing one another is not a special event. We don’t need to be on our best behavior, like it’s a parent-teacher conference. Treating each other like company gets in the way of transformation – which is the lifeblood of sustainable companies.
We need to be in the wolf pack, the pride of lions and the parliament of owls. We need each other to survive. Come take my hand and climb out of your sinkhole. Come to work.