When the school run is just that…
I love working from home. I got up this morning, pulled on my running gear, had breakfast with the family, walked the two boys to nursery, ran 4.5 miles up and down the gorgeous Jesmond Dene, grabbed a glass of water, put 6Music on the radio and sat down to write this. As I crossed the couple of main roads en route, I saw visions of my old commuting self, hot and harassed behind the wheel, trying to beat the lights and tapping a finger impatiently as pedestrians use the crossings.
I’ve mentioned before how I tease audiences about the office of the future, but the question remains: why do we office workers still operate as if we are making pins in some 19th Century dark satanic mill? We have the technology to do everything we do in the office at home: broadband, laptops, mobile phones, home office phone systems, Skype, kettles. I have a view of the river valley out the back of our house, there’s no air con, no presenteeism and no annoying office clowns. What’s not to like?
The biggest complaints I hear from those who have dipped their toe in the water are loneliness and procrastination. For people living alone loneliness could be a problem, but easily solved. Facebook is my watercooler – and I get to choose who I banter with, likewise I can lunch with friends and family. Procrastination I don’t find a problem – in fact I find it easier to waste time clock watching in a cube-farm than at home.
The big question is management. I’m my own boss, so that’s not a problem in my case – but in bigger organisations, managers will have to a move from an hours-based management process to a results based one. It’s the 21st Century -surely a world that can give us the iPhone can develop the skills to manage someone who happens to be out of their sight line.
Offices? They’re so last century.