Let’s begin with this question, “Do you need to be at your office to perform your work duties?” For most of the people that I talk to, the answer to this question is “no”. If your answer to this question is “yes”, then I would like to hear your reasons. For those of us that have answered “no” to this question, why do we still go to the office and how do we break away from this tradition? The solution lies in our ability to correctly identify the problems associated with the traditional office and our willingness to seriously consider alternative solutions. Here are some problems that are associated with the traditional office. Feel free to add more ….
Problem #1: Most people detest the office environment
If it is really true that you don’t have to be at the office to get your work done, wouldn’t it be great if your company can implement a system that will ensure that your work is done and that will measure your performance without taking into account how many hours you spend at the office? After all, the company rewards you based on performance. Imagine how much harder you will work just to be able to retain the privilege of escaping the office.
Problem #2: Cut down on the distractions
Any office worker can tell you stories about office politics. You can’t avoid it if you wish to maintain your seat at the office. Does office politics contribute positively to work productivity? If it is really true that office politics is so common, is present in every office, and it does not contribute positively to work productivity, why not do away with it? Can you imagine how productive you would be if you don’t have to worry about who is saying what so that you can just concentrate on work?
Problem #3: Better work-life balance and stress less
One thing big cities like New York, Chicago, Washington DC, LA, SF Bay, and others have in common is frustrating traffic. This is not Sunday morning traffic, it is people going to and coming from work on Mondays through Fridays. Seriously? Is there an employer out there that will argue that an employee who is spending 1.5 hours in traffic, each way, is not going to be optimally productive? This is 3 hours per day, 15 hours per week and 60 hours per month of fruitless and frustrating labor. Isn’t it better for the employers to implement systems that will ensure productivity rather than request 60 hours of needless pain from every employee every month?
Problem #4: Stop unnecessary adult babysitting services
If adults can motivate themselves and do their work without the direct supervision that is typically found in the offices, what is the point of the office? Companies have traditionally adopted the idea of bringing adults together in a specific location to monitor the work that they do but not all adults need this babysitting service. Shouldn’t companies concentrate on their core services and improve on ways of efficiently providing their services rather than allocate resources to glorified adult babysitting services called supervision?
Problem #5: Unnecessary cost for employers and employees
Companies love to find ways to cut their costs. Why not reduce the size of the office as much as possible to save money? Offices are useful for specific meeting types and should be kept for that purpose. Is there a need for every employee to maintain a dedicated seat permanently at the office? Keep in mind that it is also costly for the employee to transport himself/herself to the office location on daily basis. A research at my organization shows that employees are willing to take less compensation in exchange for telecommuting options. Isn’t this a win-win for both the employer and the employee?
Granted, some jobs, e.g hospital jobs, require employees to be physically present. What is the situation at your job and why do you still go into the office?