I’ve been reading about this development all week. Today’s NYT story is here. The argument from Yahoo’s leadership is that while work-at-homers are more productive, they are less innovative.
For me, I’m less concerned about staff than science trainees. The Net and the advent of ubiquitous pdf scientific articles have in many cases ended the 24/7 laboratory culture that used to be de rigueur as a right of graduate student passage. Now the question is what is being given up? Are the new generation of science trainees as productive but less innovative because they aren’t hanging out in the lab at 2 AM?
And for those who are, are they gaining some competitive advantage?
I hope loyal readers know I find this Dean’s actions reprehensible. He fired a department chair for working from home.
Howard M. Ducharme Jr. was the chairman of the philosophy department at Akron for the last 11 years. He said he had never heard of an attendance policy for department chairmen until Ronald F. Levant, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the university, called him at home one day last month at 4:30 p.m. and asked him why he wasn’t at his desk.
Mr. Ducharme—who said that particular day began with a 6:30 a.m. breakfast meeting—told the dean he was working from home. He met with the dean a day later and was told, he said, that “being on leave is a military concept, and when one is away from their duty station without permission, they are AWOL.”
AWOL? I think that’s a bit much.
I do see the need to be able to contact chairs by cell phone or email when the need is urgent.