Last week, over the two days of commuting to-and-from my office and my house, I spent nine hours in my car.
This was mainly due to arctic conditions making their way south, putting most of the United States in a deep freeze, while everyone and their mother went to work on Wednesday to escape the kids who were enjoying the last day of an unprecedented 18-day holiday break.
But just because this confluence of events clogged the roads doesn’t mean I didn’t mind sitting in traffic, watching my speedometer rarely touch the 20 miles-per-hour mark.
The worst part of it, as I constantly adjusted my seat warmers so that my butt didn’t get too hot (humblebrag!), was knowing that I was missing out on nine hours of work that I could have been doing. Instead I spent nine hours thinking about how wasteful it is to drive into an office five days a week to work, when I can do everything I need to do with a working cell phone and a reliable wireless connection.
Other than getting some face time with the people I work with — and that is important — I am still having a hard time coming up with reasons why I need an office.
I mean, the commuting is literally killing us, so there’s that.
And horrible traffic increases my stress levels, which has also been known to kill people. So there’s that, too.
And the CO2 emissions from our vehicles are probably pushing us to the climate brink, so there is also that.
(Did I miss anything?)
We know some successful PR firms have already eliminated the office in favor of a remote workforce. No corporate office means they can look for talent anywhere around the globe, rather than being relegated to their region. No corporate office means they’re not wasting money on rent, which means (I assume) they can put that money into better technology for their employees, or pay them more.
The ability to work from home is one of life’s great pleasures. And the feeling I get when I can start work without having to fight through the traffic slog is one that I would like to bottle up and give to all of my friends whose careers are based on showing up and sitting at a desk. It’s bliss, really.
There is a time and a place for showing up to work every day so that you can interact with your fellow employees, but those days are becoming increasingly rare, thanks to advances in inter-office technology.
We can have those same interactions now without leaving our home office.
So why are we still driving into an office every day?
Picture courtesy of SLworking2 on Flickr.