According to a 2011 Forrester Workforce Technology Adoption survey, half of U.S. information workers divide their time between the office, home and other remote locations. Work is not a place, it’s quickly becoming just what we do.
There has been no shortage of press recently about cool office spaces. Apple is working on what Steve Jobs affectionately referred to as “the Mothership,” Facebook (not to be outdone) is working with renowned architect Frank Gehry to design an extension to their campus and don’t forget every office ever designed by Google.
But with so much hoopla regarding innovative office design, what’s more important: the office or your ability to connect with the people and information you need when you’re outside the office? Are the benefits of creating a more informal working environment at the office equivalent to providing the flexibility to work elsewhere?
The nature of work has changed quite a bit over the years and it will continue to change, but many of our industrial era practices still linger. The 40-hour work week, the 9-to-5 work day – we’re forced into patterns that were best suited for physical labor, not creative thinking.
In the case of the modern information worker, the vast majority of our day involves some level of creative or strategic thinking. And nobody operates at peak creative potential for 8 hours straight. No matter how many triple shot lattes or 5-hour ENERGY® drinks you down. We work best in short bursts, preferably when we’re remote – at home, on the road, during our daily commute.
The proof is out there. Take this recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog called “Why Remote Workers Are More (Yes, More) Engaged.” Scott Edinger writes “the team members who were not in the same location with their leaders were more engaged and committed – and rated the same leader higher – than team members sitting right nearby.” We may always have a “place” of work, but should it be the place we go each and every day?
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