Friday, February 26, 2010

The Agile Working Experiment and Office Culture

With the snow storm that hit the New York metro area over the past couple of days, I have been forced to work from home.

This was a result of my own choosing yesterday but the company decided (rightly) to shut the office today.

We are in the process of going to a new "agile" way of working any way so I decided to see what the future could bring.

I have to say, I struggled. I have worked from home before but that was when I had planned to work from home on a particular subject (writing a brief, providing agency feedback, appraisal writing etc etc). This time around, there was no planning for it so it was under normal working conditions.

What did I struggle with?

- At one point 5 people we IM'ing me rather than pick up the phone or come over for a chat (which we would have done in the office)
- I do not have a desk or chair at home which would pass Occupational Health's guidelines I think! I now have a sore back and neck.
- You actually find that you work longer hours. I started 30 minutes earlier than usual (no need to drive to work) yet I was still working probably an hour after I normally do. Why? I think it is because you lose track of time and do not have the reference point of other people leaving the office to go home!

What did work?

- The technology - good to see that everything more or less worked so I could work effectively and efficiently
- Apart from the IM'ing incident, I had a chance to think about things

However, the main challenge I had was the fact that I had no one to interact with face to face or walk around even if it was to have a chat about nothing. That was the singest biggest issue - as humans we are programmed to interact.

Lesson learned? Yes. I used to think that companies could just get rid of offices altogether and rely on people to work from home 100% of the time or to meet up as a team every now and again.

Yes, there is a place for "agile" working but our roots should always be back in the office. That is how you create a culture......

Written whilst sitting back in an office (my agency's) as I needed human interaction after 1.5 days of working from home!


1 comment:

  1. Welcome to my current world! I'm working from home now & all of these are adjustments. My greatest concern was the lack of contact I'd have with others, being so highly extroverted. But you found the key, working the offices of clients, agencies, the library, with other work-from-home friends. Two days a week at home is ok, but more than that I just don't believe is healthy. We're not made to do life alone, and I believe that extends to work. The upside is I am finding that I'm more apt to going out in the evenings after a long day than I was previously.