Creating workspaces that actually foster collaboration

Spotlight ARTWORK Geoff rey Cottenceau and Romain Rousset
Vide-carton, 2006
MWho Moved
My Cube?
Creating workspaces that actually
foster collaboration by Anne-Laure Fayard
and John Weeks
MANAGERS ONCE DISCOURAGED, even forbade, casual
interactions among employees. To many bosses,
chitchat at the watercooler was just a noisy distraction
from work. Today we know that chance encounters
and conversations on the job promote cooperation
and innovation, and companies craft their fl oor
plans and cultures with this in mind. The results
have been surprising—and often disappointing.
Consider the experience of Scandinavian Airlines
(SAS). In 1987 the company redesigned its
headquarters around a central “street” that linked
a café, shopping, and medical, sports, and other facilities,
including several “multirooms” containing
comfortable furniture, coff eemakers, fax and photocopying
machines, and office supplies. The new
design was explicitly intended to promote informal
interactions, and management broadcast the message
that employees should fi nd opportunities in the
new space for “impromptu meetings” and “creative
What happened as a result? Very little. A study
of employee interactions revealed that just 9% were
occurring in the street and the café, and just 27% in
all the other public spaces combined. In spite of the
thoughtfulness and good intentions informing the
new design, two-thirds of interactions were still confi
ned to private offi ces. What went wrong?
Common sense, it turns out, is a poor guide when it
comes to designing for interaction. Take the growing
July–August 2011 Harvard Business Review 103
at SAS were done, it has all the earmarks of such an
imbalance—and should serve as a cautionary tale
for any company contemplating a redesign.
The Properties of Proximity
People often assume that proximity is purely a function
of physical factors: how far employees are from
one another or how close they are to a break room.
And distance is important. The MIT organizational
psychology professor Thomas Allen famously discovered
that the frequency of workers’ interactions
in an R&D complex he studied declined exponentially
with the distance between their offi ces—an effect
popularly known as the Allen curve. Even when
they were in the same building, researchers on different
fl oors almost never interacted informally, he
But it’s not just the physical attributes of a space
that infl uence informal interactions; “proximity,” as
we use the term, depends on traffi c patterns that are
shaped just as much by social and psychological aspects.
In fact, physical centrality is often less important
than “functional centrality”—proximity to such
things as entrances, restrooms, stairwells, elevators,
photocopiers, coff ee machines, and, of course, the
watercooler. Allen argued that to improve the dissemination
and sharing of ideas, lab directors should
create spaces containing several shared resources.
The social geography of a space is a crucial component
of its physical layout.
The Importance of Privacy
One of our studies involved a media agency whose
central shared space, which held coff ee and vending
machines, a printer, and a copier, sat between the
company’s entrance and private offi ces. Everyone
had to pass through it—but nobody lingered there.
The reason, many employees confided, was that
there was so much traffi c that private conversations
were impossible. In particular, the agency’s director
came in frequently for coff ee, and people didn’t want
her to overhear them.
enthusiasm for replacing private offi ces with open
floor plans in order to encourage community and
collaboration. More than a dozen studies have examined
the behavioral effects of such redesigns.
There’s some evidence that removing physical barriers
and bringing people closer to one another does
promote casual interactions. But there’s a roughly
equal amount of evidence that because open spaces
reduce privacy, they don’t foster informal exchanges
and may actually inhibit them. Some studies show
that employees in open-plan spaces, knowing that
they may be overheard or interrupted, have shorter
and more-superficial discussions than they otherwise
Both sets of fi ndings are correct. Open fl oor plans,
or indeed any type of design, can either encourage
or discourage informal interactions, depending on a
complex interplay of physical and social cues. Over
the past 12 years we have conducted nine studies of
the effects of design on interaction, looking at organizations
in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
We surveyed the extensive literature on the subject
and interviewed dozens of managers about their
office redesigns. The sum of our research reveals
that a space may or may not encourage interaction
depending on how it balances three dimensions, or
“aff ordances,” that have both physical and social aspects:
proximity, privacy, and permission. (For more
on aff ordances, see the sidebar “The Signals Design
Can Send.”)
The most eff ective spaces bring people together
and remove barriers while also providing suffi cient
privacy that people don’t fear being overheard or
interrupted. In addition, they reinforce permission
to convene and speak freely. These requirements,
we’ve found, apply just as readily to virtual spaces
as to physical ones, although their virtual manifestations
may be quite diff erent. In either setting, getting
the balance wrong can turn a well-meant eff ort
to foster creative collaboration into a frustrating
lesson in unintended consequences. Although no
formal studies of the reasons for the design failure
Be aware that seemingly small changes to
a space can have an outsize eff ect and that
unintended consequences are common.
104 Harvard Business Review July–August 2011
The physical requirements of privacy are the
most obvious ones. At a minimum, people need to
be confident that they can converse without being
overheard. To ensure such confi dence, spaces
must be designed with visibility and acoustics in
mind; privacy is enhanced when others can’t see
whom you are talking to and when you can see others
approaching or within earshot. There’s a subtle
implication here: True privacy allows you to control
others’ access to you so that you can choose whether
or not to interact. Though it may seem counterintuitive,
research shows that informal interactions won’t
fl ourish if people can’t avoid interacting when they
wish to.
The architect Christopher Alexander, who has
written extensively about patterns of use in buildings
and cities, describes the alcove as the ideal space
for informal interactions: It’s suffi ciently public for
casual encounters but provides enough privacy for
confidential conversations. Alcoves also make it
easy for people to move a conversation that began
in the open (for instance, in the hallway) to a more
private space without having to seek out a room with
a door—a disruption that can end the conversation.
Let’s look at how a lack of privacy undermined interactions
at Xerox’s Wilson Center for Research and
Technology. Managers created the “LX Common” to
encourage informal encounters among employees in
separate groups. The Common aff orded great proximity:
It was centrally located and was traversed by
people walking from the main entrance to their labs,
from one lab to another, and to the conference room.
It contained the kitchen, the photocopier and printers,
and key reference materials, and this functional
centrality also drove traffi c. But as teams started having
conversations and meetings there, people began
taking long detours around it. The problem? The
Common created so much proximity and so little
privacy that engineers couldn’t pass through without
risking being sucked into a meeting, informal or
otherwise. So they avoided the space altogether.
The lab manager found a solution by setting three
rules that gave employees control over when and
with whom they would interact in the new space:
Traffi c through the Common was acceptable at any
time; anyone was free to join any conversation there;
and anyone was free to leave any conversation at any
time. Once the rules were in place, informal interactions
fl ourished.
The Power of Permission
The social dimension of permission is more obvious
than the physical one, but both are critical. Culture
and convention shape our view of what constitutes
appropriate behavior in a particular environment. In
an offi ce, people generally deem a space to be a comfortable,
natural place to interact only if company
culture, reinforced by management, designates it as
such. This was evident in a consulting fi rm we studied,
where “real work” was done only at one’s desk
or in meeting rooms. The luxurious coffee lounge
was usually empty: Employees would come in, grab
a cup of coff ee, and leave. Company culture did not
give them permission to stay and talk. In contrast, at
a creative collaborative we observed, where designers,
advertising people, and architects shared an offi
ce space, sitting on sofas and chatting in the centrally
located café was seen as part and parcel of the
creative process.
Sometimes the artifacts in a space powerfully affect
its social designation. In a study of interactions
in photocopier rooms at three French companies, we
found that the mindless, stationary task of making
copies, combined with the need for others to stand
around while waiting their turn, created permission
for informal interactions. The sense of permission
was strengthened by the fact that copying is
perceived as work. Management might frown on
Idea in Brief
Casual interactions among
employees promote trust,
cooperation, and innovation,
and companies have devised
open fl oor plans and common
areas to encourage them. But
such eff orts can easily backfi
re. Spaces, whether physical
or virtual, invite interaction
only if they properly balance
three factors, or “aff ordances.”
Designs must drive traffi c to
shared spaces and give people
reasons to remain. Centrally located
areas containing shared
resources such as photocopiers
and coff ee machines do
this well. For virtual workers,
continuously open video links
and instant messaging provide
a sense of proximity.
People must feel confi dent
that they can converse without
being interrupted or overheard.
They must also be able to avoid
interacting when they want
to. Alcoves lend privacy to
public spaces. Clear policies
about who has access to which
communications help protect
privacy online.
Company leadership and
culture, as well as the space
itself, must convey that casual
conversation is encouraged.
Comfortable furniture and obviously
work-related machines
such as photocopiers help
send that signal. In addition,
leaders should model desired
behaviors in both physical and
virtual spaces.
July–August 2011 Harvard Business Review 105
The Signals Design Can Send
The concept of “aff ordances,” developed
by the psychologist James
Gibson, explains how an object or
an environment communicates its
purpose and off ers possibilities for
action. Handles aff ord grasping;
doors aff ord entry and exit; paths
aff ord locomotion. Gibson argues
that when we look at an object or
an environment, we perceive its
aff ordances for action even before
we notice qualities such as shape
and color—although we might ignore
or misinterpret the aff ordances or,
when they are especially subtle, fail
to see them at all until a change to
the environment alters or eliminates
them. In the context of our research,
workspaces aff ord—or don’t aff ord—
proximity, privacy, and permission.
Aff ordance theory helps us understand
how the design of an object
might aff ect the ways people use it.
An object generally gets its intended
use only when the design exposes its
purpose. There are myriad examples
of bad designs that obscure aff ordances,
from door handles whose
shape gives no indication whether
they should be pushed or pulled
to aesthetically impressive control
panels consisting of identical knobs
symmetrically arrayed, without any
visual clues as to what the various
knobs do. In such cases conscious
thought, and sometimes even training,
is needed before people can understand
and make use of an object’s
Studies show that the aff ordances
of objects and workspaces, as perceived
by the people actually using
them, may at fi rst go unrecognized by
designers or managers. The cognitive
scientists Ed Hutchins and Don Norman,
for example, examined the effects
of replacing the interconnected
control wheels used by aircraft pilots
and copilots with individual joysticks.
The joysticks were designed to have
all the functionality of the old control
wheels and then some. Hutchins and
Norman discovered, however, that
the designers had failed to recognize
an important aff ordance of the old
system: When the pilot turned the
control wheel, the copilot’s wheel
turned as well. This was not an
intended functionality, but it signaled
the pilot’s moves to the copilot
without the need for conversation or
extra instrumentation, and the pilots
had come to rely on it. Unintended
consequences can result from designs
or redesigns that fail to account
for signifi cant aff ordances—whether
in aircraft, workspaces, or elsewhere.
employees’ “gossiping” over coff ee but have no problem
with the same sorts of conversations around the
Permission, then, refl ects the interplay of physical
space, artifacts, and company culture. We saw
some best practices for combining these elements
at IDEO and Zappos. In IDEO’s open-plan offi ce, portable
furniture lets employees move around to work
near whomever they’re collaborating with. At Zappos,
managers are encouraged to spend as much as
20% of their time socializing and team building. The
CEO, Tony Hsieh, has a small cubicle in the middle
of the company’s Las Vegas cube farm, signaling his
availability and broadcasting permission to interact.
Putting Principles into Practice
Understanding the three P’s required for informal interaction
is just the beginning. How do you actually
design for them? Start by being attuned to the balance
between them; having only one or two usually
isn’t enough, and over- or under-emphasizing any
of the three can backfi re. Build fl exibility into your
design so that you can test permutations, and measure
the design’s eff ects. In our experience, companies
rarely do either. Be aware that seemingly small
changes can have an outsize effect and that unintended
consequences are common.
Along with Bojan Angelov, a research fellow at
New York University’s Polytechnic Institute, we
provided consulting services to a company that sells
coff ee equipment and supplies to offi ces. During our
work there, we found that coff ee rooms were more
often conversation-triggering spaces than true interaction
spaces. Proximity wasn’t the issue; the rooms
we observed were well located. They weren’t set up
to afford privacy, though, nor did people feel they
had permission to linger. Employees would often
start conversations in coff ee rooms but then move
to a more private space to continue talking. However,
many conversations were interrupted, and ended,
before they got to this next stage. The moment of
transition—the perceived need to fi nd a more private
place—made the interactions fragile.
Another of our studies highlighted the unpredictable
impact of design changes and the importance of
monitoring their eff ects. Researchers in a university
psychology lab had a communal coff eepot and took
turns making coff ee each afternoon. As the person
so tasked passed by colleagues’ offi ces on the way
to the kitchen, he or she would tell the others that
the coffee would be ready soon. Everyone would
convene in the kitchen 10 minutes later and discuss
both personal events and research projects while
they sipped their coff ee.
The head of the lab realized how important these
coffee breaks were to collaboration. He wanted to
encourage and reward them, so he replaced the
old coff ee pot with a new single-serve machine that
made a variety of high-quality hot drinks. This would
give people all the more reason to visit the kitchen,
he thought. But because coff ee was now freely available
and was dispensed by the cup, people came by
for it at different times and left once it was ready.
The informal afternoon meetings disappeared. The
lab director had provided plenty of permission and
privacy (employees could retreat to an offi ce if they
chose), and he was correct in assuming that increasing
proximity would stimulate communication. Un-
106 Harvard Business Review July–August 2011
fortunately, he inadvertently decreased proximity,
throwing the three P’s out of balance and causing
casual interactions to plummet.
Although few managers would want their employees
to loiter all afternoon in the coffee room,
neither should they want them to cut casual conversations
short. People need time to engage if a
light conversation is to evolve into something more
substantial. We often observed that conversations
started next to the coff ee machine continued in front
of a cubicle or in an offi ce doorway—“accidental alcoves”
of the modern workplace. Too often proximity
is the only design consideration for coff ee rooms
and other informal spaces. If you don’t also build in
privacy (for example, by creating real alcoves) and
convey adequate permission, you will probably end
up with a space that triggers ephemeral interactions
bearing little fruit.
Finally, it’s important to remember that permission
can take many forms. Managers’ reactions to
employee behavior, along with their own role modeling,
can have a bigger impact than mere expressions
of permission. We’ve found that many managers
say they value informal interactions but in fact
crush them by making negative comments when
they witness them—in some cases conveying powerful
disapproval through body language alone. To
encourage the encounters that fuel collaboration,
align what you say and do. (For guidance on how to
balance the three P’s, see the sidebar “Designs That
Inspire Interaction.”)
Casual Encounters in Virtual Spaces
Promoting informal interactions in the physical
world is challenging enough; nurturing them in virtual
settings is harder still. We have decades of research
on physical workspaces to draw on, but we’re
just starting to understand the nature of informal interactions
in virtual workspaces and how to design
for them. Our research suggests that the three aff ordances
are just as relevant online as off , but their virtual
permutations are distinct from their real-world
ones and can be more diffi cult to defi ne and control.
What does proximity mean in a virtual environment?
How do you provide privacy in a teleconference?
What constitutes permission on a company blog?
Even as the volume of virtual work explodes,
companies have been slow to recognize the value of
casual back-and-forth in virtual settings. Many still
prohibit the use of social networking tools such as
Facebook and Twitter, seeing them only as distractions.
Yet numerous studies show that these tools
can help create common ground and build trust—
crucial ingredients of successful virtual teams.
Managers shouldn’t set out to create electronic
watercoolers or virtual hallways and photocopier
rooms, however; we’ve found that such analogues
don’t work. Employees see them for what they are:
phony and stupid. Instead, managers need to think
creatively about the reasons for proximity, privacy,
and permission, and how each might be translated
into virtual settings.
Promoting Virtual Proximity
In virtual environments, nonwork activities such as
walking to the restroom or getting coff ee separate
people rather than bring them together. How can we
replicate online the random encounters that are so
vital to communication in the physical world? Our
research suggests that two and sometimes three
conditions are needed: high awareness of others in
the virtual space; compelling reasons to voluntarily
engage; and, on occasion, rules for participation.
In physical workspaces that stimulate interaction,
employees have a peripheral awareness of one another,
a sense that colleagues are present and available.
Virtual spaces need to convey a similar sense.
Applications such as instant messaging, Skype, and
Twitter can do this, but only if they’re always open,
whether on desktops or on smartphones and other
Some studies show that employees in openplan
spaces, aware that they may be overheard,
have more-superfi cial discussions than they
otherwise would.
July–August 2011 Harvard Business Review 107
Designs That Inspire Interaction
By providing proximity, privacy, and permission, both physical and
virtual public spaces can invite chance encounters that may evolve
into more-substantive connections.
Physical Space
Virtual Space
Position common areas in
central locations or near
restrooms, stairwells, or
elevators to tap existing
offi ce traffi c; avoid putting
them in locations
that would require a
special trip.
Include shared resources
such as coff eemakers,
vending machines, and
In particular, include resources,
such as printers
and copiers, that sometimes
require collaborative
problem solving.
Communicate the purpose
of the space and the
reasons you encourage
informal interaction.
Don’t create too many
rules about the use of the
space; informal interaction
can’t be legislated.
Make sure that the
culture expected in the
space mirrors the overall
organizational culture.
If senior managers and
rank-and-fi le employees
don’t mix much normally,
they probably won’t do so
here either.
Experiment with the
num ber and type of
resources in the space to
moderate traffi c; avoid
Create alcoves or other
peripheral areas that
facilitate private conversations
in public spaces.
Help people control with
whom they interact. For
example, make sure they
can see who’s coming,
and let them opt out of
meetings in the space.
Create a core group of
active participants and
provide engaging content
and resources.
Require participation at
the outset if needed.
Convey a sense of
continuous presence
(for example, by asking
employees to set their IM
status to indicate availability)
and make shared
spaces easily accessible
(no more than one click
Create ways for people to
move easily from group
interactions to one-onone
Set transparent policies
governing the privacy of
online exchanges.
Allow people to control
access to themselves by
choosing when they are
visible online.
The recommendations for
permission in physical
spaces apply here as well.
In addition:
Model desired behaviors.
Leave shared virtual
workspaces and video
links open before and
after scheduled activities
to signal that casual use
is sanctioned.
108 Harvard Business Review July–August 2011
mobile devices. Frictionless accessibility is key. Our
studies show that if connecting with a team member
online requires more than one click, informal encounters
won’t happen. It’s not unlike how people
behave in the real world: You’re not going to casually
drop in on a colleague who’s on another floor.
Some team leaders ask their members to customize
their IM status or Skype mood message to invite or
discourage informal interactions at any given time.
It’s the virtual approximation of pausing at the coffee
station or closing your offi ce door.
Anyone who has tried to promote a knowledge
management system knows that traffic trails off
unless the system contains useful information and
is frequented by interesting, helpful people. The
same holds true for virtual team environments and
discussion forums. In our studies of public online
forums, we’ve found that successful communities
have a core group of active participants who provide
resources and reasons for others to join in. You don’t
need a core group of copy makers to fuel informal
interactions in the physical world, but you do need
their equivalents—facilitators, champions, and other
lively regular visitors—to keep interactions going in
virtual environments.
This creates a chicken-and-egg problem: It’s hard
to promote an engaging online social environment
without a core group, but a core group is unlikely
to form without an engaging environment. It may
be necessary to mandate participation until routines
and a critical mass of activity develop. During
our teaching about distributed work, we created a
course blog and invited students to discuss the class
on a voluntary basis. The blog languished. We then
required participation, making sure that our own
posts modeled the behaviors and communication
styles we wanted to see. At fi rst students engaged at
the minimal level and stayed strictly on topic. Soon,
however, they began to participate more spontaneously,
responding to one another’s posts and venturing
into more-casual terrain—suggesting a movie
related to the course work, for instance, or asking
about a bag left behind in class.
Creating a sense of proximity is especially challenging
when virtual-team members are widely dispersed.
We taught a course at Insead in which two
classrooms a world apart—one in Fontainebleau, the
other in Singapore—shared a media space. Video
links, interactive whiteboards, and other technologies
let students on the two campuses see, hear, and
write to one another in real time. We found that it
takes a lot of planning and experimentation to foster
an informal virtual work environment. One key,
we discovered, was to open the video connection
before class and leave it on during breaks and afterward.
Inspired by the sense of proximity this created,
students soon began to engage in casual interactions
during nonclass time, even inviting others to stop by
and say hi to friends on the other campus.
Protecting Virtual Privacy
When employees know that the company may be
monitoring their electronic exchanges and that their
conversations might never be deleted, they are reluctant
to use virtual channels casually. Managers and
IT directors need to balance their desire to screen
communications with the need for the privacy essential
to trust building and collaboration. Organizations
can’t promise complete privacy. But clearly
communicated policies governing who has access to
electronic communications and under what circumstances
can convey important reassurance.
Xerox creatively tackled the challenge of providing
both proximity and privacy in a virtual work
environment. It installed a number of video links
connecting EuroPARC (its R&D center in Cambridge,
England) with the original Palo Alto Research Center.
At fi rst the links were always on, but the system’s
designers quickly realized that if they wanted the
scientists to use the technology, they would have to
provide virtual doors that people could close at will.
They ultimately aff orded three levels of privacy: A
video link could be on, off , or set at an intermediate
status—like a half-open door that allows people in an
offi ce to glance out and those outside to look in for
permission to visit. The links gave close collaborators
a peripheral awareness of one another and increased
the opportunities for chance conversations. For example,
each day at about 4:00, employees in the UK
offi ce would use the links to see who was in the café
having tea so that they could decide whether to join
the group there.
Providing Virtual Permission
When you run into someone at the coffee machine,
it’s natural to comment on the weather. This
strengthens social bonds by affi rming shared suff ering
or good fortune and often leads to a more substantial
conversation. But in a virtual work environment
it would be odd to contact someone out of the
blue just to talk about the weather. Opportunities
for random encounters are fewer. How, then, can
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July–August 2011 Harvard Business Review 109
we create permission for such interactions, making
them feel natural and comfortable?
One company we studied did this by capitalizing
on a mistake. A London-based manager used
the wrong e-mail distribution list to invite people to
her farewell party at a nearby pub. She had meant to
ask her local colleagues but instead invited everyone
in more than 25 offi ces all over the world. This led
to rounds of humorous e-mails from far-flung colleagues
about fl ying to London for the event. The
next day the firm’s leaders published some of the
e-mail exchange in the company newsletter, praising
it as an example of the informal, connected
culture they desired. Their note signaled that such
online exchanges weren’t just permitted—they were
When virtual-team members come to know one
another beyond the confi nes of their job, the team
is strengthened. Understanding this, Nokia—an
effective company in terms of virtual teaming—
provided social networking tools and other online
resources specifically to encourage employees to
share photos and personal information, and created
virtual “offi ces” that were open 24/7. Keeping such
offi ces open around the clock conveys permission to
use them for nonwork exchanges. Turning a video
feed on well before a virtual meeting and leaving it
on during breaks and afterward can send a similar
message, as we saw in our linked Fontainebleau and
Singapore classrooms. Open connections help foster
the sense that geographically disparate groups share
an informal space and that the casual interactions
that might occur in a real-world common space are
sanctioned there.
ADDICTED TO their smartphones and planted in front
of computers for much of the day, knowledge workers
increasingly straddle physical and virtual space.
At first blush, you’d think this hyperconnectivity
could only enhance the informal interactions that
fuel creative collaboration. Our research shows,
however, that what matters isn’t how much proximity,
privacy, and permission real or virtual spaces
afford, but how the affordances are balanced. A
lopsided distribution is more likely to inhibit than
promote beneficial interactions. Technology can
help employees feel closer to colleagues around
the world, but relentless connection can erode their
privacy and overwhelm. Networking applications
such as LinkedIn, Lotus Notes, IdeaJam, and Twitter
can tear down walls, but they can also create them:
We’ve seen virtual-team members get so involved
in their digital world that they become disengaged
from the people right next to them.
There’s no simple formula for balancing the three
P’s, particularly as the boundary between physical
and virtual worlds increasingly blurs. But managers
who grasp the fundamentals and design with balance
in mind will be better equipped to understand
and predict the eff ects of spaces on interactions and
to learn from successes—and inevitable mistakes.
HBR Reprint R1107H
How Photocopiers Promote Interaction
Although photocopiers are ostensibly
made for easy use by anyone, their
complicated features and interfaces can
make them frustrating and baffl ing. They
need periodic maintenance—tasks that
require specialized knowledge (such as
how to install a toner cartridge or extract
jammed paper) that tends to be unevenly
distributed among users. These characteristics
are wonderful stimuli for informal
interactions, because they give people
natural reasons to launch into conversation.
We’ve observed
employees turning to one
another for help, watching
one another to learn
more about the machine,
and commenting (usually
disparagingly) on its operation.
These casual conversations can
naturally lead to other subjects, some of
them work related.
And what is being copied can be as
important as that it is being copied.
People gathered around
might discover, in the
documents coming off the
machine, the write-up of
a colleague’s project that’s
relevant to their own work, or
a new company policy that might
aff ect them. Rich discussions often
ensue. Indeed, had the photocopier been
designed specifi cally to inspire social interaction,
it could hardly have succeeded
Keeping virtual “offi ces” open
24/7 conveys permission to use
them informally. Leaving a video
feed on during breaks and after a
meeting sends a similar message.
Anne-Laure Fayard is an assistant professor of
management at the Polytechnic Institute of New York
University. John Weeks is a professor of leadership and
organizational behavior at IMD in Lausanne.
110 Harvard Business Review July–August 2011
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