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
    Roger, 30 Oct 2008 @ 5:47am

    Don't underestimate the power of human interaction

    Sure office politics sucks. Commuting sucks. I hate both those too.

    But part of the human experience is interaction. How much of human endeavor and accomplishment comes from solo flyers, plugging away in silos? We are social creatures and as convenient as it may be to avoid social interaction, we must strive to work together. For a complete interaction we need eye contact, to perceive the subtleties of timbre and pitch in voice, nuances of body language, even the smell of someone's perfume.

    I recall a story (The Naked Sun ) by famed science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in which the world (or a world) had devolved to a society where no-one had any meaningful personal interaction (except to procreate). At what point will we become something like that?

    I fully support telecommuting. I just don't think that the need for human interaction should be sacrificed on its altar.

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