Archive for the ‘commute’ tag
I like driving in my car…
I was sitting in my car the other day with many other commuters, probably on the same journey, between the town and the city, when the thought occurred to me: why do we need to commute? I’d bet that at least 50% of folk on the same journey as me have got service sector jobs that they could do equally well, if not better, from home. Why bother? After all, if 50% of the population only worked 1 day a week from home, you’d cut commuting by 10%. Think how much of a contribution to carbon reduction that would be.
I think part of the reason behind the general lack of working from home is down to a number of reasons. Firstly, trust. On the part of management, largely. If you’ve got an SME with, let’s say, 30 employees, you want to know what they’re doing. You may need to speak with them at short notice, because each individual is more significant in a smaller organisation. That’s a fair point. But if you’ve got most of your work allocated previously, you should be able to cope with most of the work, bar the reactive stuff.
Secondly, banter. Office banter is great, and it’s something I sometimes miss if I’m working from home at length. I’ve a theory that you need 2 or 3 days a week at work in order not to go stir crazy, eventually. You need that human interaction – it’s an in-built thing.
Finally, habit. It’s too easy to continue to work as you do now. If you work from an office, it’d be a major change to shift to home working.
We all know the tech is there – even the smallest of villages have got reasonably decent links these days. If not, they’re on the way. We know that everyone can jump on virtual meetings through webcams, VOIP and the like. That’s not the problem. But what about the ‘banter’ thing?
I recently attended a group called Harrogate Digital; a set of like-minded tech-savvy folk in my town. It was a good evening, and it was great to meet new people who are obviously enthused with technology – social media in particular – and what it means for promotion. Anyway, these were definitely a group who wouldn’t always need to work in a busy office – and many of them don’t. But the group-thing got me thinking – why not open places in each town where you can work, but are still able to take part in office banter? How about a pub hub? (That’s my working name for it.)
The idea would be that you could work some days from home, but for those times when your tech isn’t working, or you need to speak with someone else, or you just need a change of scene, you’d be able to get into a zone where you can log in, chat, grab a (decent) coffee, maybe swap ideas. It could be pay-as-you-go, so the owners of the pub-hub can actually run it; it could cost less than it costs to park up in the city, for instance. How about councils sponsoring them – reduce your town’s carbon footprint.
You’d have to put some basic rules in place: as well as a payment, you’d better make sure that you’re not giving away company secrets; there’d be some non-disclosure stuff needed. Make sure you sit next to someone who works in a completely different organisation. Oh, and make sure you’ve a good, secure VPN going on with work.
To me, it’d be a win-win situation. Company costs are reduced (you’ve less space to find); carbon footprints are down; less time stuck in traffic queues because your commute would be a great deal less; maybe some network opportunities. And the incentive for better coffee.