As technology marches ever onward the traditional bricks and mortar office environment in which I have spent my entire working life seems to be becoming less and less relevant. No longer is it necessary to trudge into a physical work space in order to push paper. ( In fact, as I keep trying to explain to my present work-mates – you really don’t even need paper)
Indeed, years ago I quietly shortened my “in office” work time to four days a week but since most of my interaction with clients was by phone or email, no-one really noticed. Now that I’m semi-retired I’m down to two office days per week, and I know colleagues, both young and old, who have done away with their office entirely, working from the comfort of their home, from ‘the cloud’, or from a co-work space.
My younger colleagues may be surprised to learn however, that you don’t really need technology to break down those office walls, just a bit of imagination. Back before the invention of the personal computer I spent my summers sailing the BC coast, and discovered, at dockside on one of the smaller gulf islands, a dentist who had it all dialed in. He skippered a larger trawler yacht, kitted out with a dentist’s chair and all the fixings, and cruised the islands all summer, drilling teeth, then chillin’ on the aft deck. His boat, aptly enough, was named the “Tooth Ferry”.
For my part, as a young lawyer with an office in Nanaimo, I indulged my passion for the wilds of the west coast by running a small ad in the local Ucluelet paper once a month. The town then was lawyer-free, so I simply announced that a travelling lawyer would be in town, then made the trek out with my trusty VW Beetle, and set up shop in the local motel. A few hours of dispensing wills, divorces and incorporations, and I was free to tramp the beaches.
An old law partner of mine still gives a master class on re-inventing the office in order to find work/life balance, and he too is a product of the pre-computer, pre-smart phone era, so technology plays no role in his scheme. He works from home, and the only marketing he does is to show up at the local McDonald’s around 6:30 every morning to kibitz with the old timers who gather there for coffee and gossip.
The flow of work generated from that early morning coffee klatch is truly astounding- leading me to dub the enterprise “the 100 yard diet”. Good old fashioned face to face interaction, it seems, beats Facebook every time !