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Thursday, August 23, 2012

So, where's your office?

It's funny.  Almost always, one of the first questions when you meet someone new is, what do you do?  When one of us explains that First Class Communication is our new business (where education and communication conspire!) the question that invariably follows is, so, where's your office?

At this point in the conversation, we've tried a number of answers, usually delivered in an apologetic tone -- "We work virtually, so out of our homes." "We have home offices, but we Skype every morning at 9 o'clock and are in contact throughout the day."

Here's the answer we've decided on -- and we're losing the apologetic tone. "Our office is wherever we are."

And though we're not alone, our virtual-not-physical workplace is on the cusp of a change occurring across the world today. The industrial age is giving way to the digital age, so the constructs of the industrial workplace (think 8-hour day, time clocks, set lunch breaks) are losing their relevance.

In many lines of work, it's not necessary for workers to gather at one location to get the job done. And that's a positive all the way around.

Consider these stats for businesses (pulled from IABC's Communication World magazine):
  • At IBM, 40 percent of the workforce operates without a dedicated space, saving the company more than $450 million a year.
  • Deloitte reduced its office space and energy costs by 30 percent through distributed workplace strategies.
And for workers,  the plusses are flexibility and the ability to work where you live (or travel). Younger workers (particularly Gen Y and younger) are coming to expect this, and research finds that all workers in this environment enjoy their work and tend to actually work more.

So, the next time you ask one of us where our office is, expect to hear, "It's wherever we are." No apologies.

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