Should you go to work in the morning?

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No. For many of us who are “office” workers , work is not where you should go in the morning. Work is something that you should do. Don’t take the subway or a bus to work. Don’t go at all.

It is time. We have waited for years for the technology for working from home (WFH) to mature to the level where we can achieve at least a 75%  WFH work-style. Today, not only does the technology exist to support it, it is ubiquitous and inexpensive. Want to improve cost efficiency(lower facility costs), improve productivity and save the planet (lower carbon footprint). Just stop going to work everyday.

The average office worker spend 48-60 minutes a day commuting to and from work in Urban areas. The longest commute time in Canada is in Toronto, where commuters average 79 minutes for a round trip, or roughly the equivalent of 8 work-weeks annually just getting to and from work. When I worked in Toronto and lived in the suburbs, I regularly had single direction commutes in the 2-3 hour range and a one time record-setting 11 hour commute.

empty-office-space

  • Average Commuter Journey is 8 miles
  • bus trips emit 0.107kgs CO2 per passenger mile
  • subway trains emit 0.163 kgs CO2 per passenger mile
  • 40 MPG cars emit 0.239 kgs CO2 per mile

Let’s review my work-from-home experience or perhaps more accurately, my “i’m-not-going-to-work” experience because I am a consultant and I do work on-site with clients at regular intervals.  I work from many different places including my home.

My Tools

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Windows Laptop with:

  • Microsoft Office suite – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, OneNote
  • LYNC – Instant Message, Presence and Full Desktop Audio/Video conferencing
  • Wireless and 3G LTE
  • DirectAccess – I can connect to my Corporate domain and applications without VPN
  • SkyDrive Pro – Virtual Data Storage and Sync for Corporate files
  • SkyDrive – Virtual Data Storage for Personal or Non-Confidential files
  • High Quality & comfortable Microsoft LifeChat headset.
  • BitLocker – to securely store locally synchronized data for off-line use (in-the-air travel)

Windows Phone with:

  • Fully synchronized Outlook email
  • LYNC mobile where I can click on a meeting in Outlook and be immediately added to the Meeting from my phone
  • SkyDrive
  • Microsoft Office mobile where I can view presentations, or short documents for a quick review.
  • Internet Explorer browser with 3G LTE Internet access
  • Internet Sharing Hub
  • Bluetooth Headset & In-Car Bluetooth connection

Microsoft Surface with:

microsoft-surface-pro-windows-8-tbalet-0

  • Microsoft Office suite – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote
  • LYNC – IM, Full Audio/Video conferencing
  • Wireless and auto-connect to my phone for 3G LTE internet sharing access
  • SkyDrive – Virtual Data Storage for Personal or Non-Confidential files
  • Fully synchronized  email
  • Internet Explorer browser with Internet access
  • Internet Sharing Hub
  • Tablet or Tablet + Keyboard mode
  • SKYPE
  • 1 click Remote Desktop to my Corporate PC

(oh yeah and a home PC with a connected printer/scanner with Media Center PVR and a 54mbps wireless router with all devices connected through a Homegroup)

So today what does my WFH world  work and not work for?

    • person to person communication  – Yes
    • group communication -Yes
    • group decisions and interactions – Yes
    • client presentations (normal) – Yes
    • client presentations (high risk) – No
    • client workshops – No
    • internal workshops (formal agenda) – Yes
    • internal workshops (informal agenda) – No
    • whiteboard session – No
    • work production (analysis, architecture, writing, review, etc. ) – Yes
    • meetings where Body Language interpretation required – No
    • meetings where proxemics matter – No
    • meetings where Culture demands your presence – specifically if you are subordinate – No
    • meetings with Buyer Interaction – also a subordinate role  – No
    • team building – No

Today 90% of my internal calls are LYNC VOIP on my PC or Surface. My company is federated LYNC into some of my clients so about 25% of the client calls are also PC based, the others all come to my Unified Messaging system forwarded normally to my cell phone. In an average month I go into my office perhaps 3 to 5  times per month now (15%-25%)  and those are generally for team meetings or if I happen to be the neighbourhood with a client meeting.

Beyond the technology and the type of  personal interactions required, there is still your Boss to think of. Implicit in the choice of WFH one of the two must be mandatory:

  1. Your work can still be supervised or
  2. You consistently demonstrate productivity and self-discipline to work unsupervised or minimally supervised.

We can safely assume that either of these can easily be true about remote work today. The time has come to not go into work in the morning. Let’s all do the planet a big favour and just stay home.

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