With laptops, smartphones and tablets, our offices have moved into our homes
‘Technology has made it possible to bring the office home, but can it keep the two apart?’ An old-timer wonders...
BC: Hi, what's the matter? It's almost noon and you still haven't gone to work.
AD: Actually, I'm at work.
BC: I don't understand.
AD: I'm going to be telecommuting for the next six months.
BC: Tele-what? Is that what they do in Star Trek when they magically appear in some other place?
AD: No, that's teleportation. Telecommuting is about working from home — or any remote location — with the help of technology.
BC: What's new about that? Even when you sit in your office, you use a lot of technology.
AD: Precisely! That’s why companies have now begun to allow employees to work from home. They can reach us by mail or over the phone. Or I could get on to Skype or a chat session. Teleconferencing, video conferences, file sharing — I can do them all from home. And at the end of the day, I wrap up and mail my work across and that's that.
BC: I can't imagine working from home.
AD: Why not?
BC: Because to me, home is an area of calm. It’s the place I come back to after weathering many a storm — at the workplace, at client meetings and in traffic. If you're going to drag the office home, you're bringing along the stress and the pressures of work to your bedroom. So how are you?
AD: Well, with laptops, smartphones and tablets, work moved into our homes long before you realised it. So why not formalise the arrangement?
BC: But how do you end a working day? Where do you draw the line between work and personal life when both are fighting to coexist in the same place?
AD: That calls for time management and good planning. Besides, look at the positives — no more strenuous drives in the peak hours, no more traffic jams, no more office politics…
BC: For years, man has been deputing technology to do his work for him. And somewhere along the way, technology has made a backdoor entry into his house and has programmed his life in a way that, instead of waking up and checking out the sunrise from his window, he ends up booting up Windows and checking his mails as soon as he gets up.
AD: But you can spend more time with the family, both because you can work from home and because you save time on commutes.
BC: You're kidding me! You'll probably use up all that time updating your status messages and checking out forwards.
AD: Look at other positives — you don't have to dress up any longer to go to work. I'm sure you would have liked that.
BC: In fact, half the people these days look like they crawled out of bed and went straight to work. Regardless of all that you say, I foresee a lot of problems with working from home...
AD: Like what?
BC: You can't call in sick. You can't crib about your boss. You can't catch up on water cooler gossip. You'll never know how much the next guy is making.
AD: As always, you need to find something to crib about, don't you? Besides, this is not about you. The current generation loves it, so.
BC: I'm sure they do. I'm also sure that school kids these days must be wondering why their folks are forever having that zombie expression on their faces and lounging around all day at home in their nightclothes while they have to wear their uniforms and go to school, five days a week. I’m not sure if they’ll thank technology for it.
AD: Despite all that you say, more and more people are now getting inspired to work from home…
BC: Guess I need to start going to the office too.
AD: I thought you had retired.
BC: I was. But, now that your generation is going to work from home, I guess workplaces will be a lot more peaceful.