I had dinner yesterday at Redwoods with an old colleague from AT&T (the better version, not the current anti-net neutrality, anti-competitive one) to discuss online social communities. As we were leaving, I had a modest moment (yes it happens as often as a total eclipse of the Sun in North America) and said, not bad from a guy from New Jersey and I received a reply back that said "no, you are not from NJ you are from the internet." And, that got me thinking, well I guess I am.
After working from my home office for the past year, I've often struggled with the stereotype of being at home and constantly proving that I am working hard and not hardly working. One of things my wife complains about is that she doesn't know when I'm working, playing World of Warcraft, posting on my blog, or just plain surfing the internet. Why? As Mary says, it all looks the same. My counter is that "look, all I need is a laptop, high speed connection, and my experience to work". And, I believe with broadband spreading like crab grass in your lawn, that my situation will become the norm in a few years.
Why do you need an office? Why do you need to commute? Sure if you have an important meeting it is better face to face, but with Second Life for virtual meetings, conference calls, emails, etc you literally can be anywhere and get work done.
Well, I'm not crazy. Virtual offices are the way to go. In this week's (or is it next week's) Business Week there is a featured article called Smashing The Clock which goes inside Best Buy's radical plan for reshaping their work force. It also talks about IBM's efforts to also push virtual offices. You know what is says? People work and accomplish more when not glued to their corporate office and they also have more freedom.
See, a virtual office is the wave of the future. Broadband access lets you operate anywhere and with the cost of laptops and other necessary equipment dropping, you have to start asking yourself why do you need an office? I bet in 5 years there will be an army of people with virtual offices...I'm glad to see I'm once again on the cutting edge of society ;-)