Flying cars are overrated

Published 2013-03-06 by Jochen Lillich

Today’s Irish Times has an article by Jennifer O’Connell titled “If you want me to work in an office, I demand to commute in a flying car”. This idea, she explains, comes from a conversation with her father who had read Toffler’s “Third Wave” and expected our generation to replace working in offices mostly by teleworking and “then spend all the time we weren’t commuting to the office in our flying cars, pursuing more worthwhile projects”.

Okay, we still don’t have flying cars. (Which fails to make me sad – would you want those imbeciles you encounter all day in the air above you?) And with Yahoo! calling all their telecommuters back into corporate shelter, some seem to regard working from home an impossible dream, too.

The author disagrees and stresses that, while certainly not always easy, “being in control of your environment is surprisingly life-affirming”. It may require new measures of productivity, though. Instead of checking punch cards and counting butts-in-chairs, productivity in today’s companies needs to be judged by actual results. In such an environment (known as “ROWE”, results-only work environment), working from home holds up quite well against offices where, as O’Connell describes, “leaving your desk to locate a stapler can take 45 seconds on a Monday morning, but four and a half hours on a Friday afternoon”. She backs up her perspective by highlighting studies that have shown that “employ­ees who worked from home were 13 per cent more pro­duc­tive, took fewer sick days, had high­er job sat­is­fac­tion, and were half as like­ly to leave”.

We built freistil IT as a ROWE from the start, with everyone working from any place where they can be the most effective. I’m writing this post in a bakery sipping great coffee before I’m off to get my daughter from Kindergarten. Before, I’ve spent the afternoon at my desk at a shared office space, and last night at 2:30, I did software upgrades on our servers from the living room table. I would not want to go back to having to commute – even in a flying car. We’re very happy working as a distributed team.

And we’re hiring! So, if you’d like to join our both productive and happy team, jump on over to our Jobs Page and get in touch!