Maybe telecommuting isn't such a good idea after all

People might value physical, social interaction and increase the quality of their work accordingly. 

The Value of Face Time: To Work Better, Work Closely
The authors analyzed a bunch of scientific studies, looking at how far away the participating researchers labored from one another. They then looked at how often those studies were cited by other scientists, which is a measure of how influential the work becomes.

They found that the closer together researchers worked, the more often other academics cited their study. This was especially true if the researcher listed first (usually the one judged most responsible for the work) and the one listed last worked near each other. The closer they were, whether they were in the same building, on the same campus, or on different campuses of the same institution, the louder their work seemed to talk.

"Despite all of the profound advances in information technology, such as video conferencing, we found that physical proximity still matters for research productivity and impact," says Isaac Kohane, lead author of the study and the Lawrence J. Henderson professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston and director of the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. . . .

While this may just be another one of those egghead academic phenomena, other recent studies from the business world lend some support. One recent study suggested that conducting all communication by email leads to less engagement in a task. You need face-to-face meetings to build trust, empathy and a feeling of responsibility to each other. Some of the efficiencies that email and teleconferencing offer are counteracted by the inefficiencies of disembodied communication.


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