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Jurgen Appelo calls himself a creative networker. But sometimes he's a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy. Since 2008 Jurgen writes a popular blog at www.noop.nl, covering the creative economy, agile management, and personal development. He is the author of the book Management 3.0, which describes the role of the manager in agile organizations. And he wrote the little book How to Change the World, which describes a supermodel for change management. Jurgen is CEO of the business network Happy Melly, and co-founder of the Agile Lean Europe network and the Stoos Network. He is also a speaker who is regularly invited to talk at business seminars and conferences around the world. After studying Software Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and earning his Master’s degree in 1994, Jurgen Appelo has busied himself starting up and leading a variety of Dutch businesses, always in the position of team leader, manager, or executive. Jurgen has experience in leading a horde of 100 software developers, development managers, project managers, business consultants, service managers, and kangaroos, some of which he hired accidentally. Nowadays he works full-time managing the Happy Melly ecosystem, developing innovative courseware, books, and other types of original content. But sometimes Jurgen puts it all aside to spend time on his ever-growing collection of science fiction and fantasy literature, which he stacks in a self-designed book case. It is 4 meters high. Jurgen lives in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) -- and in Brussels (Belgium) -- with his partner Raoul. He has two kids, and an imaginary hamster called George. Jurgen has posted 145 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Move Your Mike

06.06.2013
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In February 2013, Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, sent a memo to her employees saying that working from home was not acceptable anymore, and all Yahoo’s remote workers would soon be expected to either relocate to the office or else quit their jobs. She said the main reason for this decision was that collaboration and communication are improved when people work together in the office, and when they can see each other face to face. Marissa Mayer was right.

She was also wrong. Plenty of research and case studies confirm that creative people who work remotely are on average more productive than their colleagues who work at the office. Marissa Mayer’s claim that “speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home” might have been true for herself, or for some of Yahoo’s employees, but in general this claim doesn’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.

The answer to the question, “Should people work from home or in the office?” is as always, “It depends.” People can be more creative on their own when they work remotely, but creativity is fruitless without a frequent gathering of minds and mixing of ideas. On the other hand, communication can be improved when people are collocated most of the time, but communication is useless without good productivity, which many people often best achieve alone. Somehow you must optimize both. Anyone who optimizes one over the other is missing the point.

The best approach for your organization is to find your own optimum. This includes instructing people to optimize both creativity and communication in ways they believe is best. It also means giving them the means for high-bandwidth communication across distances, in the form of Skype calls, Google hangouts, telepresence robots, and any other tools you can think of that include both audio and video.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Jurgen Appelo.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)