Nothing lasts forever. The phenomenal positive effects of co-location on team performance is not an exception. But forever is a very long time and if the effects lasts up to two years, then it would still be a very good investment.
The benefits of working in the same physical space are well-documented and fairly well supported by research:
– More creative; generating better ideas and better alignment to objectives
– Faster to market; through better communication and increased collaboration
– Improved quality; with shorter feedback loops and collective ownership of results.
This is so much so that IBM, Yahoo and Bank Of America are among companies that have recently limited opportunities for their employees to perform remote work.
But the real active ingredients behind the benefits working collaboratively and in co-location with others are more empathy and increased collective ownership of the results.
Do co-locate whenever you can. But when the reality is that you cannot, consider
– Limited time to achieve benefits of empathy.
– Longer time to achieve knowledge transfer and high-performance.