By Phil Gibbs on January 20, 2011
No, not the TV show—YOUR office! That box with the name beside the door where you spend a few hours a week working or trying to work. Be warned that giving up the office is as difficult for most people as giving up caffeine or stopping smoking—and there are no patches. Don’t even think about doing it cold turkey.
So how do we know this? Just look at how many people still have offices. It could be considered an epidemic. And you thought obesity was bad.
It is a New Year and time for resolutions. If you are trying to decide if giving up the office is right for you, here are the 10 reasons to consider:
1. Most offices sit empty much of the time.
Don’t believe me—try an experiment. For the next few days, every couple hours walk the hallways of your building or any office building in the area and note the offices that are not occupied. There are exceptions of course, but I believe you will be surprised. The occupants are in meetings, traveling, on vacation, out sick, visiting clients, or at a coffee shop trying to get some work done. With offices sitting empty so much, you might think having a traditional office is like having a dedicated hotel room in every city you visit.
2. The office is not a good place to work.
How many times have you said, “I have to get away from here to get anything done?” There are constant interruptions. The trivial often consumes every available minute while the important keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the pile. A recent TED presentation by Jason Fried, shown on CNN.com, titled, “Why the office is the worst place to work” makes the point clearly. http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/12/05/fried.office.work/
3. Most offices are boring and uninspiring.
Do you say when you walk into your office, “Wow, every time I come in here I feel really energized and creative?” Sure, there are exceptions, but most offices are just boxes with a few touches added to make them functional. My apologies if your spouse designed your office, but you know what I mean.
4. Traditional offices are not green or sustainable.
They sit empty much of the time but are heated and cooled 24/7. Enough said.
5. They are an unnecessary expense.
As was alluded to above, most of us do not have a hotel room sitting empty in every city we visit—that obviously would be an unnecessary expense. Instead, we reserve a room that others use when we are not there. And it is a fraction of the cost of having a full-time room with our pictures on the wall and our name on the door.
6. Technology has made the office obsolete.
So why do we have offices in the first place? We didn’t start with the office—we started with work and the office evolved to support work. But how we work has changed dramatically. We used to need a place to store our papers and files—now we store these electronically in the “cloud”. We used to need a place for our typewriter, then word processor, then desktop computer—now we use mobile devices that we generally keep with us. Ah, but we still need a place to meet with people. Could that need perhaps be met by a meeting room or conference room? Maybe it is all about the pictures and name on the door.
7. Pictures can be posted on your mobile devise display.
That works—you can have them with you wherever you go, and you can have walls of pictures.
8. Offices are fixed and do not move.
That is a problem because most of us are on the move. If you had a “place” in the different locations you work that would serve all the functions you depend on the office to serve, it would be great.
9. There are other means of communicating importance and status in an organization.
OK, I got it.
10. And, yes, you can have an office party without an office.
But what do you call it? Maybe an “Officeless Party”. Definitely time to stop this list!
If you are seriously considering giving up the office and have a sick feeling in your stomach, know that you are not alone. There is help for you. E|SPACES offers support for the formerly officed every day. You can do it. Come and join the liberated, officeless workforce.
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