I was watching this video on PocketLint recently and the words ‘work is a thing we do, not a place we go’ really struck a chord. It nicely sums up how we work in 2009. I can work anywhere and am lucky enough to be employed by a company that not only provides the technology I need but also trusts that I am not going to sat at home watching day time TV!
But it was interesting having a chat with my parents recently – while I worked from their house in Ireland – about the whole working from home concept. Mum and dad both in their early 60s (sorry to give away your age, mum) agreed that ‘in their day’ no one would have been given permission to work anywhere else but the office. It just wasn’t done the thing. And my parents both maintain that if a colleague was at home during work hours they would presume that he or she were playing a round of golf, hitting the shops or having an afternoon nap i.e. doing anything else but work.
So what’s changed? Why does our generation not bat an eyelid at the thought of our colleagues, friends and family working from home? I put it down to the power of the Internet. Being online gives us the freedom to access the information we need, the people we want to speak and the service we want anywhere, anytime night or day. So, getting the ammunition we need for work should be no different.
But that does not quite answer the question of skiving. Do our bosses trust us more today? I doubt it, but I do think that our employers’ mindsets have changed. They realise that we may watch a bit of This Morning while we are working from home. But they also understand that we will happily check and respond to email at 8pm.
Generation Y, or those who have been brought up with internet, will take it a step further and demand to work from anywhere; happily working as part of a globally dispersed team, content in the knowledge that they can work from Starbucks if they want. A recent article in the Sunday Times Style magazine even hinted that the office was dead and would be replaced by a series of community hubs which would house people who work rather than people you work with. The workplace as we know it is changing and I for one like the changes and won’t be giving up my iPhone or remote access anytime soon.