In the past three decades, a series of quiet revolutions in design have changed the way offices are used, erasing former hierarchies of walls and cubicles and incorporating workplace methodologies from the technology industry into team-based, open-plan layouts. At the same time, digital tools such as e-mail, Excel, Google Docs, video conferencing, virtual whiteboarding, and chat channels like Slack have made a worker’s presence in those offices less essential. The pandemic has collapsed these divergent trends into an existential question: What’s an office for? Is it a place for newbies to learn from experienced colleagues? A way for bosses to oversee shirkers? A platform for collaboration? A source of friends and social life? A respite from the family? A reason to leave the house? It turns out that work, which is what the office was supposed to be for, is possible to do from somewhere else.
The article presents a case history of one example. Thoroughly, including alternatives. A worthwhile read.
I suggest – reading all articles of this type – you ignore any existential questions about whether or not you are qualified and capable of such a change. The honchos at home base are going to make those decisions with or without your participation. A question of corporate style, I’d say.
Articles like this are useful if you’re looking ahead and working for a firm that’s thoughtful about the future and willing to make the changes to implement a changeover like this. I went through it when I took my first position as a wholesale rep almost 40 years ago. That company was ready to grow from servicing retailers in three adjacent states – to servicing the whole East Coast. Eventually, their success story led to a complete nationwide presence. Top-shelf ranking for performance, service and profitability.
I was hired in that first wave of expansion. Though I wandered astray a time or two – tempted by offers from non-competing firms growing into the same markets – I ended up back with the same folks for a couple of decades. For me, the change to remote digital sales management, communications, was a piece of cake.
BTW, I still have my original Tandy TRS80 Model 100 laptop. The tech that kicked-off consideration of expansion, digital tech beyond/beside a corporate mainframe to build a business. Scary, successful, groundbreaking and very satisfying.