Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Future of work

Time looks at the Future of work.

Some very interesting things there. The office as a concept needs to be challenged, for sure. This is covered here. Fascinating. (Incidentally it is written by Seth Godin.) I loved the concepts in this. Simply put, if a company can outsource work from across countries, surely it can get outsource it from its office to employees homes?

Why have a building and tons of resources to gather employees all over a city and get them into an office building, when it can be done just as effectively on virtual mode? Just meet up monthly at an offsite. Ok, if not for 100% of staff, surely for 50% staff, with people working alternate days or whatever?


Swapz said...

I disagree somewhat.
- The home (particularly the Indian one) never really gives an environment where you can sit and do good work, unless you have a study to yourself.
- Outsourcing is done from one "work" environment to another, so that analogy isn't accurate.
- I have at times found it hard to work even without any disturbance. The simple way of "walking up" to your colleague and getting your problem resolved never happens easily when working from home.

neelakantan said...

I agree with the "study" part. Yes, some demarcation is required. One cannot work out of the kitchen.

You are right, it is much tougher in India because we have fuzzy boundaries for everything but we need to challenge the present definition and assumption of a "work" environment.

As part of an outsourcing firm, we tried many a time to convince folks abroad to work with team members in India and #3 that you bring about was often cited. But with instant messengers etc., we have been able to overcome this.

BTW, quite a few firms are trying out some amazing stuff (India perspective) in these areas...

Swapz said...

Instant messengers are a great use, but of little importance when the discussion warrants visual representation, like marker-pens on whiteboard, or changing something on the computer screen. VNC (and Oracle Web conference in my case) come into play bigtime in this, but require an awesome Internet connection, like at least 512 KBPS, if you want your remote screen to be shown at more than 5 frames per minute (exaggeration).

In addition we outside Mumbai (core) always have to face the situation of power cuts.

Workplace, IMO, is where a lot of things "are taken care of" allowing me to focus on what is required: work.

neelakantan said...

Agreed. Internet, power are all taken care of at "work". But there is no reason that cannot change. It may not seem possible now, but surely it is a trend and makes sense from a cost perspective too...

Do read the Seth piece I have linked to.

Pradeep Kumar said...

I work in a company with 6 guys. 1 is in gurgaon, 1 in noida, 1 in mumbai, 2 in hyderabad, 1 in US and none have an office as such. All work from where they are, travel, have blackberrys, laptops and usb dongles for net. There is technically very less overhead. Meetings happen at Taj coffee shops and lounges. As someone pointed out, discipline is the key.