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Work is a thing we do, not a place we go

Posted by sarah-anneb on 26th November 2009

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.

  • Hello!

    I'm the founder of WorkSnug and the guy who write the script for our film: "Work is a thing we do, not a place we go". Thanks for your thoughts.

    I think the issue between your grandparents and you is that they worked at a time when the office was an instrument of control – There was even a set of rules (Taylorism) that codified this control. Now the digital age has made all of that obsolete.

    Trust is another matter though. Knowledge workers can work anywhere, but our ability to do that has developed before we can write a new set of rules which govern how we keep that efficient and effective. Trust may even be unwise!

    Richard Leyland

    WorkSnug

  • Hello!

    I'm the founder of WorkSnug and the guy who write the script for our film: "Work is a thing we do, not a place we go". Thanks for your thoughts.

    I think the issue between your grandparents and you is that they worked at a time when the office was an instrument of control – There was even a set of rules (Taylorism) that codified this control. Now the digital age has made all of that obsolete.

    Trust is another matter though. Knowledge workers can work anywhere, but our ability to do that has developed before we can write a new set of rules which govern how we keep that efficient and effective. Trust may even be unwise!

    Richard Leyland

    WorkSnug

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  • I have always taken the view that you don't pay me to be at my desk, you pay me for the work I do. I may sometimes be paid to be somewhere at a particular time and often that is the office. However, most of my work is emails, calls or meetings and only a small percentage of that requires me to be at my desk. The only reason I am really at my desk is for the perceived convenience of others.

    Bob

  • I have always taken the view that you don't pay me to be at my desk, you pay me for the work I do. I may sometimes be paid to be somewhere at a particular time and often that is the office. However, most of my work is emails, calls or meetings and only a small percentage of that requires me to be at my desk. The only reason I am really at my desk is for the perceived convenience of others.

    Bob

  • Vysia Duffield

    Great article! I've done both but I prefer working in the office as opposed to working from home. Perhaps it's because I'm a very sociable person, but I like interacting with my colleagues, and I personally think that there is more capacity for feedback and communication in an environment where colleagues are physically together compared to if they had to communicate via email. Also, I work better when there are people around me, even if we don't talk. Their very presence gives me motivation to work harder because I feel like we're all in it together so I have to contribute what I can.

    But that's just me.

    That being said, I don't enjoy my 2 hour commute to work, so perhaps a flexibility for both would be the way forward.

  • Vysia Duffield

    Great article! I've done both but I prefer working in the office as opposed to working from home. Perhaps it's because I'm a very sociable person, but I like interacting with my colleagues, and I personally think that there is more capacity for feedback and communication in an environment where colleagues are physically together compared to if they had to communicate via email. Also, I work better when there are people around me, even if we don't talk. Their very presence gives me motivation to work harder because I feel like we're all in it together so I have to contribute what I can.

    But that's just me.

    That being said, I don't enjoy my 2 hour commute to work, so perhaps a flexibility for both would be the way forward.