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The workplace of the future

Talking Points Memo is a political blog/commentary/news site from the US that I’ve read for years now, and it’s top notch. It’s leftish, but a real reportage site, better than most mainstream news, and really fair. It was started by one guy, but now has 9 or 10 staff in a few locations.

They have a post today that really explains their structure and organisation — it’s what I like to think of as the workplace of the future:

As most of you know, we have a bricks-and-mortar office in Manhattan. But that’s just the anchor for our operation. We have a reporter in DC, another reporter who works most of the week from Connecticut, and I’m in Missouri. So a third of our staff of nine is not based in the NYC office.

I love reading stuff like that, but only in the context of “wish I could get into that situation”. Commuting for hours, sitting at a desk in some office, doing things on a computer you could just as easily do from home — that’s 20th century living. Working like TPM, or 37signals, or IMDB, or many other web companies, who employ decentralised workplaces, who only occasionally or never meet up, using IM, chat, Skype to communicate — that’s the future. When we’re all working on computers anyway, we might as well decentralise.

And yes, I really don’t like office work, being cooped up somehwere far from home for no reason (except for your bosses, maybe), where you can all be watched and monitored, like no one believes you are doing the work unless you’re seen — ridiculous. Often working in silence anyway, with people that while you hopefully don’t actively hate them, you usually have little commonality with anyway. Apparently some people like this lifestyle, wouldn’t know what to do without that office commute each day … don’t know what to say … that’s just not me.

Obviously, I need to start my own thing. Fully intend to 🙂

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