Seasoned independent contractors who telecommute know how smart it is to be onsite often enough to become embedded in the organization's collective consciousness. So, we used to figure out ways to swing by and present a whatever, interview a team member in person instead of by phone, and participate in brainstorming.
That was then. With gas prices about four bucks a gallon and even an off-peak Metro North round trip ticket into Manhattan 30 bucks, the invitations to come onsite are fewer. Organizations just don't want to reimburse those costs.
Probably they will lose out, not just the vendors. Yahoo's chief executive officer Marissa Mayer is right on the money about working eyeball to eyeball does tend to generate innovation. People are breeders of ideas. They also have the insights about what might work and what probably won't. Alone in our home office, we are shut out from that.
However, where Mayer is off the money is positioning where people work as an either/or situation. Either you're in the office with us or you're not and you're out. She might have given this more thought and come up with ways teams, onsite and virtual, could interact more. This is at a time when many organizations are pushing even full-time employees out of the building to reduce the square footage leased. Cutting that is one fixed cost over which they are having success managing.