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“You and I are collaborating right now,” Thompson told me. “We are in the same place. We are on Planet Earth, using our phones.”
And if a team decided the best results will come from collecting in one spot, she added, they can simply call a meeting.
What’s been largely missing in this discussion is a kind of middle ground, maybe something like the approach of Matthew Dornquast, who, like Thompson, described himself as “passionate” on the subject.
Dornquast is co-founder and CEO of Code 42 Software. While employees there come into the office, he does not appear to be in the mold of Henry Ford. No whistle blows at 5 at Code 42’s Minneapolis headquarters.
Code 42 has “core hours,” in by 9:30 a.m. and stay at least through 3:30 p.m. For him, working face-to-face and alongside each other is about enriched communication and creativity within teams and across teams.
“Creation is communal,” he said in an e-mail conversation. “More bandwidth is a good thing.”
He has a bit of a technical explanation, too.
The data transfer of reading on a computer screen, writing with a keyboard or talking on a phone tops out at approximately 120 bits per second. The eye and brain absorb information at 16 million bits per second.
I did not check this with a professor of neurology, but Dornquast explained that your combined see, hear, touch, taste and smell speed is 700,000 times faster than an ability to read and write words using a computer.
“It’s no wonder why studies show 60 to 70 percent of communication is nonverbal,” he continued. “This is why I silently weep when I watch an employee typing into a phone with two thumbs. Think of the waste.”
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