Ditching The Office

from the some-good,-some-bad dept

A few years back, we went from what had been a virtual office to actually having a real office. Yet, since the company had been virtual for a while, we've maintained something of a hybrid between a virtual office and a real office. Not everyone goes into the office all the time (some of our employees aren't local, though the majority of them are). Some rarely go into the real office at all. Still, there are days when we do try to make sure that everyone's at the office, and that can be quite useful. However, Wired is suggesting that more companies ditch their offices completely and move entirely to a virtual office arrangement. I can understand the appeal, but I think that a hybrid approach may work much better. There are times that having a real office space is quite useful, such as in allowing for more impromptu brainstorming and discussion. It also opens up the lines of communication much more. While our staff is good at using instant messaging, chat rooms and phone calls, there have been times when just sitting across from one another has helped get things done more quickly. Both the real office and the virtual office have pros and cons, but I'm not sure that it makes sense to go completely to one extreme or the other. Having a space that can function as an "open office" area, while allowing employees to telecommute most of the time seems to create a nice balance.

Filed Under: office space, telecommuting, virtual office


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  1. identicon
    westwind, 30 Oct 2008 @ 12:28pm

    Re: In-person advantages

    D'oh. Not sure how it got cut off mid-paragraph -- I thought it errored out completely and didn't post anything. Anyhow...

    ...no substitute for face-to-face contact for a lot of creative work. I recently had the opportunity to meet in person some of the other people with whom I work, and the difference was amazing. We were able to discuss and work on things in person much more efficiently than chat ever permitted.

    Has anyone had any experience with the use of voice chat in distributed collaboration circumstances? While it's no substitute for real face-time, does it improve normal interaction?

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