Friday, February 20, 2009

"Daddy told me look into the future, sit at your computer..."

Hey folks,

By some strange quirk of Fate, I've been working away from the office for a few days this week. Sometimes from home, other times from remote sites. It's not something I do a lot, so there was a fair bit of novelty to it. With broadband and the various remote access technologies out there, working remotely was a doddle.

I sat enjoying a quiet cup of tea as I waited for an installation to finish, my mind drifted. Firstly, it was nice to be able to sit and look out on to the garden rather than the usual view from the office window. Secondly, I wondered if this was a sign of the future. With the UK Government using motorists as a serious revenue stream and the ever rising costs of running an office ('leccy, parking, rent, etc): how long before we really see a shift to a virtual workforce? I've read about start-up companies - particularly in large cities - doing this, but how long before the mainstream catches up?

Sure, there are some Health & Safety issues to address - apparently a laptop on your knee for 8 hours isn't the done thing (which I don't do) - and some less trusting management regimes aren't keen on the idea of the staff being out of sight. But it can mean you can work more flexibly and that you're not sat in traffic using petrol up or clogging the roads. Web cams and VOIP telephones mean remote meetings are possible. Although to be fair, I still prefer a good, old fashioned sit-around-the-table meeting with a flip chart and pens. :-)

Is this a good thing? The idea of more home working or will it just mean more working hours and even more blurring between home/office life? For some jobs, you do need to be there. But for many office jobs, you don't: telephone and email can be all you need. The one thing I did miss, however, was the office chit-chat and banter. Sure, you could say it's distracting, but I like to call is socialising :-)

In other news, I spotted this advert for a Marks & Spencers' capsule working wardrobe. It features 5 Mylene Klass's. Now... who wouldn't want to work in an office like that? :-) Mind you, at those prices, I'm tempted by a few items myself.

Take care,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: No Good Advice by Girls Aloud... who won something at the Brits - yay! ]

9 comments:

  1. My younger son was lucky enough to hire into a call center while he finished his programmer's degree. At one point he grew frustrated with one of their programs and wrote something better. They said "should you perhaps be here instead of there" and transferred him to their programming crew.

    He now runs it, travels nationally and works from home as many or more hours than he spends in their office. Turning 30 this year, he makes more than I did in my best year at GM with more overtime than I knew what to do with as well!

    There are times when the phone rings and it's not convenient for him, but that is more than made up for by the freedom to answer the call from home!

    It's also wondeful because he sees far more of his kids than I ever did he and his brother...there was a point when I was working 6 day weeks, 2nd shift, 9 hour days and he (at about 4) asked his Mom "Is Daddy dead?"...

    Personally, I'm very proud that he gets to work with his mind and his hands instead of beating his body to death like I did for 30 years!

    As does his older brother. Apparently they learned something important along the way!

    I hope that you may find that same freedom and peace!

    alan

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  2. In 1998, I think, I did a lot of work from home - I even managed an 6 or 8 week stretch without going into the office. Email and phone calls were perfectly sufficient. (It helped that my boss worked in Virginia, and I in NY!) I worked whatever hours I wanted; the work was based on results and deadlines, not some arbitrary notion of being seen.

    I liked it! I worked more hours, and when needed, I was always in the office. Often times, a group of us were in the office for hours and hours at a time. And then the company gave us a raw deal, and I quit. (The package I got from the next place certainly helped me make the decision... :-) )

    Working from home is definitely the way to go. You just need a boss that isn't anal.

    Carolyn Ann

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  3. Alan: That's a nice story. Thanks for sharing. Funny how working life has changed.

    My Dad pretty much had a 'job for life' with the firm he worked for. They were pretty good to him and he got a nice golden handshake when he took early retirement.

    I don't think there are many firms left like that. It seems to need to move on if you want to get on these days.

    Glad to read it's working out for your sons. You must have done somethng right :-)

    Carolyn Ann: '98 doesn't seem long ago, until I did the maths :-)

    Working from home can be good - provided you don't get sucked into trying to do the housework *and* doing that report you're supposed to be writing :-)

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  4. I love the thought of working from home but I'm not sure how much I'd accomplish without distraction. Are you close to Watford? My lovely blond sister lives there.

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  5. T.C.G: There is that risk isn't there... the risk that you'd get stuck into some far more interesting than work.

    Watford? My small world, but no I don't live anywhere near there.

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  6. I miss the interaction and small talk. Love not having to commute everyday (for me the most stressful and expensive part).

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  7. Lucy: I think it's the small talk that keeps it [work] interesting. Meeting new people, working together, that kinda thing.

    BTW? is your commute *that* bad?

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  8. Not exactly hell but either one long traffic jam or late or non existent and expensive buses (the complaints in the local media are many) and trains.
    Although I don't feel as productive I probably do as much if not more. (and I can type comments in blogs without being monitored or blocked):)

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  9. Lucy: Ahhh... phantom buses. On the time table yet strangely invisible.

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