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Glass, a professor of sociology and population research at the University of Texas at Austin, suspects little to no reliable research supports the notion that hallway meetings are anything more than gossip sessions or recaps of baseball scores from the night before. Does proximity, in this age of videoconferencing, social networks and other tools, still matter?

“Certainly there is nothing out there that you can easily find that suggests innovation is linked to face time,” she said.

Some former Yahoos, as company employees are called, have been quoted anonymously in news and blog reports as saying dead wood is hiding at home and the ban isn’t such a bad idea.

“If you’ve got a performance issue with people, deal with that as a performance issue,” Galinsky said. “If people are slacking off and not working, then deal with it that way. This was a blunt instrument.”

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