Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Living and working mobile

We have laptops, we have mobile phones, we use wifi and GPRS and even 3G. We look for a powerplug first if we enter a coffee shop instead of the drinks list. We meet for lunch in a restaurant and let our GPS device show us the way (even in Vietnam, yes).
We are mobile on cars, taxi, motobike. We communicate location independent via Skype or Yahoo, sending text messages or Facebook status. We twitter from the toilet. We upload videos on Youtube about the traffic jam we just stuck in.

But we still go to our office everyday from 9 to 5 (or even longer). When I talk with companies about collaboration and a break up of traditional structures, most of them say, it's important to have the staff at one place because of the communication.

I doubt that. Even colleagues sitting next to each other talk on Skype instead personal. Supervisors sending emails about everything to their staff, just to have it documented. It seems more that they want to control people instead of giving them space for communication.

So why not thinking about letting people more flexible and mobile? In a city where everyone is complaining about the traffic and the time they need to go to work, it should be easy to work online and mobile.

Things companies should think about:
If your staff has a webmail access, why not having a core time spending in the office and let them spend the rest of the time at home or whereever they want?

If staff spends, let's say, two or three days in the office and the rest somewhere else, they might even work harder and more. It's worth a try I think.
Companies can save money for office space and, more important, might have more motivated stuff.

When I was meeting companies, I was sometime surprised about their offices. A lot are very basic building, not really representative and impressive. Why not inviting clients for meetings to better places like coffee shops or hotels. You can rent a conference room for less money and have a nice environment.

Yes, this is not working for every company and not for every department in yor company. And yes, I know that a lot of companies do this already. I know people who always ask me for meeting in a coffee shop just to have a chance to leave the office. So there is a demand for working mobile. Let's give it a chance.

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