When talking about the workplace of the future, one of the things which keeps coming up is working from home. Of course working from home is very flexible and combines business with pleasure. You can get out of bed at the same time as always, and start earlier than you normally would. Alternatively, you can sleep in a little longer and start work less stressed than if you were on the road with aspiring Formula One drivers! You could also enjoy having lunch with your family. On the other hand you can work more effectively in a quiet work environment compared to the open–plan offices most of us are used to. All of these are very good points in favor of working from home.
Having said that, far more annoying and stressful than traffic is email. Sadly, working from home doesn’t help here. In the 1990s – I guess I’m showing my age here – email was seen as a great tool with which to share information quickly. Gone were the fights with the fax machine: paper jams, lack of toner, lack of paper, unsuccessful transmissions…the list is endless. The trouble with email is related to both the quality and the quantity of the messages received. How many of the emails received, resemble more electronic telephone conversations? How many emails glaringly show that the writer doesn’t know what they’re writing about? How many emails might have been saved with a simple phone call? The consequence is that even though you might be in the comfort of your home, you still have to spend hours reading through or replying to tons of mail.
How can work – from home or in the office – be made more effective? Surfing the web, you read a lot about the ‘end of email’. Some of the alternatives mentioned are things like blogs, social networks, instant messaging and so on. The question is though: will any of these or some other platform make communication better and more efficient? Or will we just have more platforms with which to produce ever greater quantities of nonsense? Or do we need to be even more flexible by quickly processing information from multiple sources?
Do you know of any communication platforms which could really make us more productive? Would love to hear from you.