I’m not the biggest fan of Ted talks, but this one struck a chord. It reminded me of this classic John Cleese talk on creativity as it is discusses how to get in the right frame of mind to be productive. People can’t be truly creative on demand, and the distractions inherent in a busy office are actively destructive to being in a flow state.
That said, the traditional, bustling workplace has a vital place (as Yahoo knows). Working relationships have to be build on physical proximity and serendipity. Nothing beats sorting out a tricky issue over coffee or finding out accidentally that you and a colleague share a common interest.
But businesses would do well to acknowledge that presenteeism is not a virtue. Hours in do not equal work out. Let’s give trusted employees clear tasks and objectives, and let them deliver them in the way that works best for them. Because that will also mean it’s the best way for the business.