Depending on who you ask, Hewlett-Packard made this week one of two moves regarding where its employees work:
They either pulled a Marissa-Mayer-Yahoo-esque directive or … they didn’t.
Kinda Like Yahoo?
If you ask Hewlett-Packard themselves — which we did by phone this morning — this week’s message from the company to its employees was simply about reinforcing that more work-in-the-office opportunities now exist through its expanding real-estate options.
They’re all about being flexible for their employees, HP told us.
If you go strictly by the leaked internal Q&A memo that was shared with AllThingsD, HP is essentially toeing the Mayer/Yahoo line here with messages like:
“HP needs all hands on deck.”
“The more employees we get into the office the better company we will be.”
So a blanket policy for a majority of workers like Mayer’s? Not quite. But HP's CEO, Meg Whitman, is pretty close here, it seems. Pretty strong words to those HP telecommuters who’ve gotten comfortable rolling out of bed (or maybe even staying there) and firing up a work day.
Photo courtesy of Monkey Business Images (Shutterstock)
Michael Thacker, director of corporate media relations for HP, told CMSWire in a phone interview this morning there is no new policy or global edict here. This, he said, is more about HP’s effort to focus on providing more space and work-in-office opportunities.
“Over the past several years, HP has been focused on developing workplaces that attract employees to the office and encourage effective and collaborative work,” HP added in a prepared statement released to CMSWire. “Our investments in real estate and IT infrastructure have made it possible to now accommodate more employees in the office and also support new styles of working which we believe will further HP’s business strategies and objectives. Flexibility continues to be a core operating principle at HP.”
Management’s Off Message
Regardless of HP’s intent here, it raises a popular question today for enterprises: What to do in the work-from-home era in terms of policies, directives and implementing changes on the fly?
Tom Petrocelli, research director for enterprise social, mobile and cloud applications at Neuralytix, a New York City-based industry analyst firm specializing in the information technology industry, has done each: work from home and in the office.
Speaking of Yahoo’s move earlier this year, although many industry insiders felt it was the wrong move to bring most employees in house, Petrocelli reminds us the “sky didn’t fall. People adapted.”
That doesn’t mean, he added, there won’t be long-term ramifications.
“That said, one would expect short-term benefits as people were able to come together more effectively in person,” Petrocelli added.
Petrocelli stressed that if companies are emphasizing the need for human contact, technology has enabled us to do that.
“How long has Skype been around?” he asked.
Photo courtesy of Nadezhda1906 (Shutterstock)
When companies provide flexible, work-from-home schedules, it tells a worker the company cares about them and values them, Petrocelli said. Changing policies that force them inside company walls will “send the opposite message.”
Why does HP or Yahoo need to have direct physical contact, Petrocelli asked, in order to collaborate or innovate when lots of companies, especially smaller ones, do quite well without it? Is this for HP employees to be more productive or HP management to be more secure?
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