In the years past the goal of many companies have bent on cramming as many people to into as small of an office or workspace as humanly possible to save money, yet not only are these days over the pendulum has swung the other way in that we are now sitting alone. As with the economy the way it is, companies are simply not hiring permanent workers spurring the need for a temporary workforce while many others are sending their staff to work from home connecting them to the corporate enterprise by a tether we all know as the internet to save on the costs of the traditional brick and mortar office. However this is creating a paradigm shift for the many which is posed to create a landslide in the design of new societal models.
As today’s workforce now spends their time working from either a spare corner of their home or hopping Star Bucks stores for free internet and a jolt of black brew, as in this vein even McDonald’s is getting in on this trend by offering “free” WiFi as even a couple years back couldn’t imagine the business man hopping Mickey-D’s for a wireless connection. With all this one of the questions which arises is as companies save money on the Bick and Mortar rent are they introducing more opportunity for error and miscommunication which could chew up those savings through a loss of productivity. As one of the underpinning dynamics is the social aspects of the “solitude” workplace.
As being physically separated from ones working colleagues induces a similar effect as when one is removed from natural light as when this happens we lose our general relationship to day and night as here the analogy is work and play. As in the new world order the lines between the two become blurred as you attend a conference call with team members your bouncing your new born on your knee so all is great right? For many this raises the challenge of “boundaries” as this becomes the issue as once those lines of personal/business start to blur the slope can become steep for many as each may swing from feast to famine in rapid secession. This whiplash affect can call into question the boundaries of work/life balance as Stewart Freidman (Wharton Professor of Management) has put forward that we work within four domains being that of work, life, community and self. Meaning those workers who are “independent-minded“, working from a remote location can be more productive than if they reported to an office everyday as it allows them a freedom from “distractions” which allows them to work as they “please” or maybe better put as “required”. Where for others, the aspects of home life gets in the way as there can be all sorts of other activities that might be a distraction from the work when you’re required to perform. As one aspect of information or knowledge based work is it isn’t a steady stream, as it flows in the form of larger ebbs and tides unlike the 1.0 version of “office” work did.
As here is where Seth Godin comes back to mind with the book “Linch Pin” as the crux is your value is created by the “value you create” rather than the hours you show up for a task. In this remote disconnected world, value will be far more important than simple “rote” attendance and as a leader we need to be aware and understand the dynamics this brings forward when addressing our business needs as well as those [needs] of the people who support us in task. As how do you focus your attention on the things that matter, when they matter? The working answer is we need to have a greater sense of discipline about creating those “boundaries”
and the value preposition each create in our life whether it’s the intended case or not, the fact is the integration of our work and life domains is growing closer and closer each day…