Assuming you have a career that is conducive to remote work, imagine the day when you simply crawl out of bed and spend 10 seconds “commuting” to your office. Imagine the day when you can commute 1 mile to a remote office right here in Tracy.
Imagine the day when you can collaborate via voice, video and data with your colleagues around the world.
That day is here. The technology is here. All that is needed is to change the culture to accept these possibilities.
Unfortunately, changing a culture is difficult. It can take 10 to 20 years — or more.
The concepts of telecommuting and remote work have been around more than 20 years. The next step is for the old-fashioned bosses (OFBs as I call them) to retire (us Boomers).
Then, in the next few years, the Internet-computer-smartphone-savvy Millennials of today (Gen Y) will start entering those management positions. This new blood will bring with it a shift from office-centric work to dispersed or remote work.
Seriously, OFBs, how stupid is it to travel two hours, one way, to an office to do exactly the same thing you can do from home, or Starbucks, or Barnes & Noble, or a coworking location?
Duh — very stupid. That will change.
But, for now: There have been “zillions” of studies in the past 30 years looking at the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting or telework — or, as I like to call it, remote or dispersed work.
The advantages are many: increased productivity, improved morale, the ability to tap talent from anywhere, reduced office costs, reduced dependence on gas, increased quality of life, reduced car emissions and traffic, less stress, survivability — to name just a few.
But there are disadvantages, too: loneliness, smelly PJs, distractions, 24/7 work, weight gain, the fear of not getting promotions or the credit you deserve and more.
In my column, I will look at all of the above to show how remote work is — as I said in the second sentence — great. Stay tuned.
• Mike Pihlman has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from University of Kansas and has been a Tracy resident since 1985. He co-wrote the first telecommuting plan at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1990 and has been an evangelist, blogger and technology developer in the areas of videoconferencing and remote work since the beginning of time (videoconferencing time, that is). He practices what he preaches at AltamontCowork in downtown Tracy.