Modern Work

Remoteness isn't so remote now

By Shawn Smith,

Published on Jun 11, 2020   —   3 min read

As the humble city office that was once bustling with a hive of activity now becomes a distant memory. Or dare I say, the coffee catch up has now been pushed aside for something not so personal. The new beginning has arrived.

Allow me to indulge and replay a little history. The knowledge worker is nothing new - it's just a little more pronounced than before thanks mostly to technology. We've been fussing over words, numbers and concepts for as long as we've been around. Once work became more mainstream and took on the physical side, this is when it had a more serious undertaking which leads us down the path to what we now know as the office - the physical place where we came together. Centralisation of business processes was born. The modern-day office had arrived.

Cities evolved into places that housed these mega structures in which the office and its workers congregated on mass. No doubt that the ambition was to continue to propel us forward however the supporting infrastructure didn't support it. For example, a person's commute became a huge burden. Could working from home be the antidote to this? Could the worker be as productive? Could the worker perform better? I believe that the answer isn't in what you do or where you are, it is in the fundamental habits, tooling and experience of the worker.

Work is something you do rather than a place you go

We only need to look at the next generation of businesses. They are in every sector, however rarely occupying a flashy address in the heart of the city. It's those that have harnessed this mindset, which they call work. Their fundamental grounding has always been distributed - to work from anywhere. Companies like WordPress and Zapier are all great examples of working without the confines of an office. The old mentality has taken a beating and now people are free to explore their true potential as they aren't restricted. The flexibility of work environments has now become a reality for everyone.

The new headline reads some Twitter employees will never return to their office. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey emailed employees telling them that they?d be allowed to work from home permanently, even after the coronavirus pandemic lockdown passes. Some jobs that require physical presence, such as maintaining servers, will still require employees to come in. This was a week after Facebook and Google said they'd allow most of their employees to work from home through the end of this year.

But you shouldn?t be left feeling that only these new-age tech companies are doing it. Our tooling, for the most part, is a simple one to solve. Be it a design team wanting to share ideas or an easier way to communicate face to face it's never been easier to click your mouse or tap on your screen to get things started. As Marc Andreessen once said back in 2011, software is eating the world. And for the most part, he's correct. We can now do just about anything from our laptops, phones or tablets without the need for an office.

The sheer fact that we have all been working apart, we are now living the new beginning. This brings a great opportunity should you embrace it. You may look at this as the outside has decided for you but now it's your turn to decide when the change happens.

What's going to be newsworthy at the end of the year is not companies saying they're embracing a distributed workforce, but those that aren't. Those who thought this couldn't work have been forced by the pandemic to do it anyway, and they've now seen that it's possible.

Has this posed more questions than answers? If so, then my free Modern Remote Work guide my assist.

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