Friday, April 18, 2014
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为什么要上班工作?

普吉岛—最近,雅虎新CEO玛丽莎·梅耶(Marissa Mayer)发布公告禁止雅虎员工在家办公,此禁令掀起了一阵波澜。梅耶的这一新政吸引了大量媒体注意,以致有大惊小怪之嫌。这或许并不那么令人惊奇:她是女人,而且据说她办公室隔壁就有托儿所可以照顾她的孩子。毕竟,激起人们反弹的是她的决定的绝对性(为何所有人都得如此?)以及雅虎是个技术公司所带来的讽刺意味(他们不知道Skype是怎么做的吗?)

我认为梅耶的决定是正确的,我可以肯定,假以时日,经理就有批准其指令的例外情况的自由裁量权。但是,到目前为止,在家工作的“权利”在雅虎仍是神圣不可侵犯的,是经理不可否决的雇员特权。但是,据大家所说,雅虎有很多人根本不工作,不管是在家还是在更有意思的地方,这已经成了一个严重的问题。

除此之外,梅耶的禁令与其说是改善特定员工的生产率的方法,不如说是改变企业文化的手段。远程办公很容易,正是因为如此,有工作场所比起集体在家办公——或通过任务兔子(Task Rabbit)组织一组外包员工——的优势在于在提供共同文化的地方一起办公能完成的工作更多,更能激发意外默契。

很久以前,企业的优势在于它能降低交易成本(第一个清晰阐述这一思想的是诺贝尔经济学奖获得者罗纳德·科斯),即招聘员工、指派任务给员工、评估生产率、设定薪水等活动的成本。如今,交易成本已经极低,上班工作的主要好处在于固定模式中的身体互动能激发组织文化和提升创造力,而不在于效率和生产率。我认为,梅耶要其员工回到办公室的原因绝不仅仅是某些员工在家并不工作,而是许多工作的员工没有在一起工作。

诚然,对一些人来说,雅虎作为一个在线企业,要求其员工天天出现在办公室中有些奇怪。但该行业的资金和人才都集中在美国从旧金山到圣何塞的一小块区域中。不管是雅虎的自助餐厅(随着免费食物的出现变得更有吸引力也更繁忙)还是Plug & Play创业孵化大楼,面对面(proximity)至关重要。上班出现在工作场所意味着与其他犀利而富于创造力的头脑的直接交流。人际交流和互动的好处正是销售员仍在拜访客户,而不是使用Skype的原因,也是Meetup(支持组织者的面对面会议;我是该公司董事)能以Twitter和Facebook所不能的方式改变生活的原因。

当然,喜欢在家工作者的论据不仅包括沟通需要成本和时间,也包括会议滋生——也许是太“多”的文化——和稳定的过度沟通只能干扰其工作,而起不到促进作用。有趣的是,我在泰国普吉岛WPP Stream“非会议”(unconference)上听说了这一点,在那里,好几百人从千里之外飞来面对面分享关于强化工作关系的心得。

因此,在线工作确实在多种情形中作用多多,但当你试图修复破坏的公司文化时,你需要承诺、人力参与和创造性互动,而这只能在实体工作场所中才能坚持进行。最后,优秀的经理会决定谁能在何处工作,并让会议变得简短有效。

事实上,之所以要有经理,全部原因在于他们能够执行裁决。否则的话,计算机和互联网不但可以让我们在家办公,还能让我们向软件程序而不是活人报告。

但是,最终,挑战在于找到人与环境的正确契合点。就个人而言,我是个反面范例。作为非真正全日制工作者的独立天使投资人,我没有办公室,也不需每日报告。但我会失去与周围人一起工作带来的交谊机会——即便他们未必是我的同事。

幸运的是,Meetup让我能够与大约90人共济一堂;我做了长途旅行,但我在纽约市的“家”中可以随时随地出现在Meetup会议桌上。诚然,我不必非得出席公司会议,但我喜欢周围都是忙人的感觉;我知道,这让我工作更加努力。不管我们做什么工作,我们始终是社会生物。

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  1. CommentedCarol Maczinsky

    Actually do people still "work" at Yahoo! ? If you require people to work at a US desert zone, they won't meet all the other exciting people as they are used to in Berlin, Barcelona, Athens. Meetings are unproductive, period.

  2. CommentedNathan Coppedge

    Re: Dyson "Indeed, the whole point of having managers is that they are supposed to exercise judgment. Otherwise, computers and the Internet would allow us not just to work from home, but to report to a software program rather than to a person." and Zsolt Hermann "I agree with the writer that at this stage, for the present adult generation, when most of our engagements are still conducted in a physical environment, working together, meeting, inspiring each other physically is beneficial"

    In my experience the few highly productive are abusing their positions, and leaving a husk of what otherwise is a high-strung but more creative context of interaction. Employers and managers who demand a social mentality run the risk of destroying business creativity. Thus it must embody a different motive, such as simple business consolidation and greed, or purely selfish connections which have become bloated with subjective interpretations of 'value' and 'correspondence'. I have observed psychologically that social people have a way of becoming more and more inter-meshed with their own types of people, the result being emotionally productive but not always socially productive. Certainly this behavior doesn't serve the middle person, so unless the middle person can be manipulated from within this system (unless she or he has a social personality) it seems that there is a lot of potential for lost work.

    1. CommentedNathan Coppedge

      That is, if sacrifice is the paradigm, then it makes sense, but if cooking the vegetables is the paradigm, then it loses out. In my view, the social personality feeds on destructive thinking, not realizing what it actually represents. It loses the opportunity for cooking vegetables, and thus actually the potential for real ideas. Many businesses appear to survive by magic, not by their ostensible personalities. This means that no one is actually employed by them. But highly social people disagree (and are rare indeed, but not always valuable).

  3. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    I agree with the writer that at this stage, for the present adult generation, when most of our engagements are still conducted in a physical environment, working together, meeting, inspiring each other physically is beneficial, and can contribute to productivity.
    The next generation is already more inclined to using the virtual environment, some people conduct most of their working, family, even love life mostly through virtual meetings, conference software, connection, and those who are very proficient with it most probably do not feel any less inspiration or productivity compared to physical contact.
    For them occasional physical contact and mostly virtual contact is enough.
    Humans actually have the true capability to go even beyond the virtual relationships, creating such emphatic feeling of each other that no obvious physical or virtual contact is necessary for continuous care, thought, emotional transfer, even precise communication in between them.
    This works instinctively between mothers and their children, or in the case of identical twins.
    Such behavior is well know among animals where schools of fish, flock of birds work, instinctively, naturally behave, travel, react according to a single mind, command.
    Modern humans sort of lost this natural capability due to the constant, exponential development of our ego, as we gradually locked ourselves into our own self centered boxes, and even today when we have infinite opportunities of virtual connections, we only use those connections for self-fulfillment, when it offers some kind of benefit to ourselves.
    If humans were capable of exiting, escaping their own self-centered boxes again, rediscovering perception, sensation outside of selfish, egoistic benefit, not in an instinctive but in a conscious, pro-active way, we could open the true possibility of relationships, communication in a non-verbal, non-physical, non-virtual manner.
    We can only dream about the productivity and perfect decision making capability this could bring...

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