In talking with my ITA colleagues yesterday, we were discussing the necessity of going into the office, or not. And it seemed that there were times it made sense, and times it didn’t.
What doesn’t make sense is trying to do work in an office. If you need to think, having random conversations and interruptions happen gets in the way. Yes, you need colleagues and resources ‘to hand’, but that’s available digitally and distally.
Being together makes sense, it seemed to us, when you either are meeting for the first time (e.g. with clients), or want creative friction. You can interact virtually for planned work, but it helps to interact F2F when getting to know one another, and when you’re looking for serendipitous interactions. Jay Cross, in his landmark Informal Learning book, talked about how offices were being designed to have the mail room and coffee in the same place, to facilitate those interactions. If conversations are the engine of business, having the opportunity for their occurrence is useful.
This seems the opposite of most visions of work: work away from the office, interact in the office, instead of the reverse. So, is this the flipped office?