Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Knowledge Workers: Stay At Home!

On his blog yesterday Seth Godin suggests a new standard for meeting and conferences. With rising fuel prices, flight times made longer by security delays and the time it takes to get to meetings or conferences, Godin suggests that those meetings and conferences really really need to be worth it to merit the trip. I have always felt that. Once when I was sitting in departures at JFK and the guy opposite me was boasting on his ‘phone that he was flying to San Francisco for a 30 minute meeting I didn’t think that was very smart – unless said meeting was SO critical (which it might have been).

But Godin has something much more significant to say when you apply this new standard to day to day working practices, backing up something I have felt for a long time.

If you're a knowledge worker, your boss shouldn't make you come to the (expensive) office every day unless there's something there that makes it worth your trip. She needs to provide you with resources or interactions or energy you can't find at home or at Starbucks. And if she does invite you in, don't bother showing up if you're just going to sit quietly.

I've worked in three companies that had lots of people and lots of cubes, and I spent the entire day walking around. I figured that was my job. The days where I sat down and did what looked like work were my least effective days. It's hard for me to see why you'd bother having someone come all the way to an office just to sit in a cube and type.

The new rule seems to be that if you're going to spend the time and the money to see someone face to face, be in their face. Interact or stay home!

Remember: work is what you do, not where you are.

Anyway, got to run for a train; I have a full day of interaction coming up!

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