I’ll let you in on a little secret.
Telecommuting will never replace office life.
Working remotely will never kill the commute completely.
Virtual meetings will never eliminate the need for in-person, roundtable discussions.
And that is just fine.
Because here’s the other secret:
Unless the workforce gets completely replaced by robots, we humans will never be exactly the the same as the guy sitting next to us on the subway, or as the woman we laugh with over drinks at the company party, or the politician running for public office in our town.
We all have different personalities, preferences, and prerogatives.
We think differently and work differently and respond differently to social situations and protocols.You may thrive on lively group discussions and debates, while your coworker may shrink back from such environments, opting instead for deep one-on-one conversations. One person’s “happy place” working at home, alone and undisturbed by outside distractions may be another person’s hell, and for that reason there will always be a need for a communal office culture that resonates with humanity’s need to be heard and to bounce ideas off of one another to generate elevated thoughts and a superior end result.
There will also always be a need for industries that require face time. You would not ever head to the dentist for a “virtual cleaning,” or to a massage therapist for a remote deep tissue massage. Why? Some things are just better in person.
But here’s the rub…
Even though telecommuting will never replace the need for office life or for in-person interactions, it is still an incredibly viable and necessary work option for literally thousands upon thousands of people. It is a work style that is compatible with countless professions, and introverts and extroverts alike can reap the myriad benefits of working remotely.
Looking for a work environment that is both flexible and dependable? Work from home!
Dreaming of living in a place that is inspiring and exciting? Take your job with you!
What we need to remember is that how we work does not need to be an either/or issue – it can be both/and, which is really better for everyone in the long run.
If you are allowed to be your best self, you will do you best work. Period.
If that means working in an office every day, surrounded by 50 colleagues that inspire you to greatness, AWESOME! If that means hopping from coffeeshop to coffeeshop while taking in different environments and outside stimuli while you work, GO FOR IT! If you need people around you to truly feel productive, then do it; if you require solitude and quiet to be your best self, that is great too.
If we give ourselves and our employees and our colleagues the freedom to work unencumbered by stereotypical workplace requirements or pressures, we will see a workplace revolution that will create a surge in productivity and creativity. Guaranteed.