Welcome to the Everywhere office.
Some of us have been here for a while. After all, we’ve had laptops, tablets and smartphones for years. Decades, actually.
You’ve seen us around but just haven’t noticed. In the airport lounges, on the trains, in the coffee bars. At home too but you wouldn’t see that. Our friends and families do but mostly because we’re in the way and they want to use the dining room table.
We’ve been a select bunch, you might even say elite (well, not everyone gets into airport lounges or 1st class on the train). We were once known as ‘road warriors’, roaming the lands with our modems, crocodile clips and a huge bag of plugs and leads. My back is grateful that today it’s all small, light and wireless.
Now we’ve been joined by you lot, the ‘hoi-polloi’! Only joking, it’s great that almost everyone can work here now, it’s so much better for us humans.
We’re benefitting, too. Lots more good options to set up office, better wifi, more plugs, more services and much better tech. Video conferencing used to be a right faff, expensive and flakey and hard to set up. Now, everyone can jump on Zoom from all around the world (apart from Dan’s kitchen, so he has to do it from his shed, sitting on the lawnmower).
There can be downsides, of course. It’s easy to let work bleed into everything else, to be ‘always on’, especially if the boss has unreasonable expectations. You can’t ‘leave’ the office if it’s everywhere, so you have to set firm boundaries and stick to them. We need breaks and time to relax and refresh, the work suffers otherwise.
It’s the Anytime office too. You can be there whenever suits you, so you can fit work in with the other important things in your life. You can flex it to cope with a crisis, or to work when you’re at your best.
Of course, it’s a bit of a problem for the old offices and city business districts. They had traded off of their exclusivity – well, when I say traded, I mean exploited – and now they don’t have any. When the office is everywhere, competition is infinite, which is the complete opposite of what it was before. Interesting times ahead.
But, hey, now you’re here, relax and make the most of it. It’ll take a little while to get used to it. You’ll probably carry on working mostly 9-5 to begin with and from one place but, in time, you’ll loosen up and experiment and figure out what works for you. Then you can really start to redesign your life, with work on an equal footing with everything else, instead of dominating and detracting.
That will make you a happier, better-balanced person, which means you’ll do much better work and be able to contribute more to your family, friends and community. The Everywhere office is a win-win-win. You’re going to love it here.