Benefit of office face time a myth

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Benefit of office face time a myth

by Catherine Albiston and Shelley Correll on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 11:55am


Correll(CNN) -- The recent decision by Yahoo's chief executive to drop the company's work from home policy makes sense, doesn't it? Plenty of people believe that if you aren't in the office, you aren't working; if you aren't clocking face time with bosses and co-workers, you aren't fully committed, and long hours are the measure of productivity. Right?

Not exactly.

Organizational sociologists call these beliefs "rational myths," convictions about how things should be done that are widely shared but not necessarily accurate. Back when work revolved around the power loom and the assembly line, centralized schedules and locations made sense. The 40-hour work week, time-oriented management practices, and our beliefs about them, became institutionalized during this period.

But a lot of what we believe about the right kind of workplace is wrong. Studies show that people who have control over when and where they work are more productive....

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Catherine R. Albiston is a Professor of Law at UC Berkeley and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. She is the author of "Institutional Inequality and the Mobilization of the Family and Medical Leave Act: Rights on Leave."

Shelley J. Correll is the Barbara D. Finberg Director of the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. She is a professor in the department of sociology and an active member of the American Sociological Association.