Ah, face time. We’re living in the greatest technological revolutionary period of global history, and yet the emphasis placed upon sitting at one’s desk in the office so that others can simply see you sitting there – regardless of what you are doing — is, sadly, still important.

WSJ’s “At Work” blog notes, a team of professors at UC Davis apparently looked into this and found that in fact, sitting at your desk means a lot to other employees.

Per WSJ: Workers who are seen at their desks during regular work hours are considered “responsible” and “dependable,” they wrote: “Just being seen at work, without any information about what you’re actually doing, leads people to think more highly of you.”

The WSJ piece continues: That leads to pay, promotion, and career-trajectory decisions. Cable estimates that more than 60% of companies are still using “1950s-style” evaluations that prioritize such subjective write-ups over hard data on sales wins, customer satisfaction, or other measures of the employee’s business performance.

Isn’t this so maddening? What about the guy who spends his entire day playing “Words with Friends?” rather than working? Is it fair for him to have a better leg up simply because he’s sitting in the office? I guess one could argue he’s physically there in an emergency situation. Fortunately, there are a few strategies for staying in the game, as WSJ points out here.

I’ll also throw out there that some startups, including FourSquare, have installed large monitors and cameras so that employees on the East Coast can literally see and talk to — and feel more connected to — employees on the West coast. While not exactly the same, you might consider a similar strategy if you work from home to avoid the “out of site out of mind” problem. Perhaps set up a Skype station at the office so your colleagues can see you and reach you easily. It just means you may need to brush your hair 🙂

– SD

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