Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Flex work locations and hours.

Why haven’t flex hours and working from home become much more common than they seem to be?

Someone writing about how and when new technologies are adopted said “People will railroad when it’s time to railroad”. Their position being that once the various technologies exist, someone will make use of them. If that gives them a competitive advantage, then others will follow.

Many people now collaborate using teleconference and online audio and video meetings even when the participants are in the same building. Most of the people I work with think it’s much better than looking over each others shoulders at a single screen. They also like it much better than gathering in a meeting room to look at a computer screen from an overhead projector. As managers see the effectiveness of teleconferences coupled with online computer screen sharing, they will accept that people’s physical location no longer matters. At least in some occupations.

Once all the technology to make steam engines and steel rails became available, and the methods of financing large projects became available, railroads were inevitable. So too, now that virtual workplaces are a proven technique, people will inevitably begin to use it. If this capability makes some companies more competitive, then, inevitably, other companies will copy the idea.

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