You’ve Got to Show Up

I was out with a good friend last week.  He’s in a professional services business.  Over the years, his firm, like many other companies, has embraced the concept of work-life balance.  Many people at his firm take advantage of the flexibility they are afforded and often work from home.  His next comment was telling.  He said, “We’re in a relationship business.  Relationships with colleagues matter.  You don’t develop relationships working in your pajamas from home.  You need to show up in the office once in a while.”

Earlier this year, IBM announced it was reducing the flexibility of many of its internal technology and marketing people, citing a desire for more in person collaboration among its staff.  IBM was a leader in the work from home movement.  Previously, IBM had said its work from home policies helped increase productivity and reduced its real estate and operating costs.

It is ironic that the more connected technology makes us, the less we invest in developing true relationships.  Relationships take effort.  If you want to stand out in your company or with your customers, take the time to meet in person.  We’re social creatures and the best way to socialize is in person.  As Woodie Allen supposedly quipped, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

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