The 21st Century Workplace is wherever you and your laptop happen to be

12 New Rules of Working You Should Embrace Today. As you know, point #4 is one of my pet peeves:

4. People don’t have to be in an office. This is the one I wish most businesses would get, right now, right away. It’s so obvious once you get away from the traditional mindset. Traditionally, people worked in offices (and of course most still do). They go into the office, do their work, go to meeting, process paperwork, chat around the watercooler, clock out and go home.
These days, more and more, that’s not necessary. With mobile computing, the cloud, online apps and collaborative processes, work can be done from anywhere, and often is. More people are telecommuting. More people are working as freelancers or consultants. More businesses are allowing people to work from anywhere — not just telecommuting from home, but literally anywhere in the world. People are forming small businesses who have never met, who live on different continents. People have meetings through Skype or Basecamp group chat. They collaborate through wikis and Google apps.
If you are stuck in the traditional mindset, think hard about what things really need to be done in an office. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for working in an office, but often those barriers have other solutions you just haven’t explored yet.
The advantages of a decentralized workplace are many. Workers who have more freedom are happier, and often more passionate about their work. They enjoy collaborating with others who are smart and talented, and work is no longer drudgery. Flexible schedules work well for many people’s lifestyles. Mobile computing is actually good for many types of businesses where people need to be on the go. And what really matters isn’t that the worker is present, but that the work is being done.

3 responses to “The 21st Century Workplace is wherever you and your laptop happen to be

  1. Sign of our modern times: people sneaking off with their laptops to get some privacy and quiet so they can work uninterrupted.

  2. Hey, my WiFi is more reliable at home than in the office. I can procrastinate twice as effectively!

  3. I wonder what the historical origin of the ‘office’ actually is. I imagine a few rooms off of a workshop where people can go to do paperwork. In a scientific setting, that pretty much is still how it is.
    The concept of a business just having a bunch of offices (or siteing a bunch of offices together with nothing else) is very odd now and seems to be destined to go extinct. Having offices (or just quiet areas) off of an area where other sorts of work is done (lab, workshop, factory floor, communal conference whatever) still makes sense.