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I'd like to explore an alternative

01 Jan 2014

My thinking is deeply influenced by my environment. I find offices an unnatural. I see busy work and little purpose. I hear confusion over clarity. I encounter walls not pathways. My mind is filled with a despondent monologue that grows and leaks out into my work and relationships. I'm intimidated and frustrated by visible hierarchy: people with connections I'm denied. The picture of my family sat on my desk fills me with longing. This is about getting through the day.

At home I create my own environment, work becomes part of life. I sit by a window and see trees and living people. I walk and think in the hills over lunch. I connect with people online when I need to learn or share the cognitive load. We're joined by a headset and a shared screen and collaborate with ease, without distraction. I make myself visible, sharing my progress. I keep myself open, no need to hide from the hustle. We talk in groups, share ideas, code unconstrained by desks and meeting rooms; the internet offers countless ways to collaborate. Together we create freely.

Wouldn't it be easier if I just sat in an office and did what I was told? Yes, but if you'd prefer an organisation where people challenge and learn from each other, creating something bigger than any single person, it's time to consider giving the people you work with more freedom. It pays even before you consider how much easier recruitment would be.

I don't doubt I'm more effective at home. Why does the assumption that we need to be collocated persist? Perhaps you feel you couldn't work like this. Have you tried? I don't mean spending a day at home and waiting for something to happen. I'm talking about spending time with you team and organisation to work out how you could improve your work life; exploring new ways of working that lift your organisation.

Are you worried about losing control? Not being able to see what is going on around you? Are you concerned about being alone? Becoming distracted? Work alone remotely and you are right to be concerned, but work collaboratively and you can feel as connected and supported as you choose.

Should we still physically meet our colleagues? Yes, with the purpose of connecting, building chemistry and bonding that only physical presence can bring. I currently do it every few weeks, just like you might do with your friends. The lines between work and play become blurred. It's all connections, learning, inspiration.

And what about life? The commute becomes time with your family and friends. Community life returns and with it an opportunity for inspiration, love and happiness. The physical connection you seek at work gets replaced, with those in your neighbourhood. This could be as much a social revolution as a work one.

I'd like to explore this with your teams and organisation. Would you be willing to experiment with me? Perhaps starting with a day together: remote, sharing ideas, exploring the possibilities.

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