Hey, Marissa: Remote Workers Can Collaborate, Too

The Yahoo argument goes that if you’re working from home, you’re cut off. But in fact it can be just the opposite.

Hey, Marissa: Remote Workers Can Collaborate, Too

Unless you’ve been under a rock or working from home (zing!), you may have heard about the Yahoo memo heard ’round the world announcing that come July, no Yahoos (yes, they call themselves that) will be able to work from home.


Some people say it’s a move of attrition; others say that Yahoo needs some new ideas, the kind that come from bumping into one another–an argument that Yahoo HR head Jackie Reses made in the memo:

Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.

The Internet correspondingly wet itself. Amid the hoopla, Danny Rubin at Brazen Careerist gave a reasoned holler, saying that while working from home can be indeed isolating (cut to: freelancer depression), the tele-chasm can be bridged by tasteful, non-inundating communication.

How to not overdo over-communication

“Since a boss can’t stop by your cubicle and see how things are going,” Rubin says, “it’s your responsibility to maintain open and active lines of communication.”

He has a number of pointers of how to make your (tele)presence felt:

  • After finishing a conference call and duties are assigned, send a note to your boss and your team to doubly confirm your responsibilities.
  • If you’re in the middle of a long-haul project, check in with updates.
  • Respond–quickly–to critical emails, even if only to confirm receipt. Doing that will reduce your team’s “did they get it?” anxiety.
  • Similarly, if your important email doesn’t get a reply, write a follow-up. If that’s ignored, get ’em on the phone.
  • Get specific in your emails: You’ll sound clearer, make the workflow smoother, and your boss happier.

How do you handle working from home? Holler at us in the comments.

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About the author

Drake Baer was a contributing writer at Fast Company, where he covered work culture. He's the co-author of Everything Connects, a book about how intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational psychology shape innovation.