I Am A Corporate Floater

When I left academia in 2002 I also left the trappings of an office.

When I switched organizations in late 2008, I also gave up a singular desk space. I’m like PacMan careening through a corporate game board collecting points at the desks, tables and rooms I occupy.

I am a floater. I’m on a quest for the corporate floater high score.

There are no ghosts in this game.

Wherever the wind takes me — be it the road, various offices, home or coffee shops — I am working. I float. I’m like those bubbles we blew as a kid except I don’t pop when I crash into a wall.

Too many childhood childish metaphors?

With no office and armed with my laptop, tablet, mobile phone/headset, USB polycom and trusty whiteboard markers, I am good to go. Put me in coach. I’ll work from the moon.

  • Filing cabinet? Please.
  • Stapler? Staple what?
  • Pictures of my family? Ummm, hello cloud?

The Globe and Mail recently surfaced an excellent article entitled, “Even in hidebound offices, cubicle walls are falling“. In it they profiled several organizations who are making the shift to mobile work environments. One line caught my attention from an example detailing efforts at the TD Bank:

Thousands of other TD employees will be working in unassigned workstations in the future, too, as the bank joins a growing number of employers who are deciding that the traditional office – with a desk for every employee and an expectation that everyone will be in their place throughout the work day – is as outdated as teller’s cages and dusty ledger books.

For you, the organization that continues to succumb to the false pretense that work only occurs if you physically see your employees, I abhor your archaic if not disengaging methodology of workforce culture.

You do not float; you continue to control your culture by your own myopia and fears. There is cement in your shoes.

Are you afraid of those ghosts in this game of corporate PacMan?

Maybe you believe your bubble may in fact crash into the walls of your assigned cubicle seating plan.

Whatever your demons, you’d be wise to wake up to the 21st century and realize work does occur without ‘official’ desks.

Other than at a wedding, who does a seating plan these days anyway?

Comments

  1. Angela Alini says

    Hi Dan,

    I completely agree that the work environment is becoming more mobile. Which is a good thing. I would also put forth that due to this new mobility the lines between work and life tend to blur…I don’t know anyone in my circle that works the traditional 9 to 5. We’re all on a 24 hr cycle of integrated work/life activity.

    When managed well this can also be a good thing…I am deeply appreciative that I work in a field that allows me to attend my daughter’s school activities and work from home when she’s sick. However the key thing is that it has to be managed well….not enough discipline and nothing gets done….not knowing when to turn off means you never really leave work.

    Finally, all of the great technology we leverage today cannot replace the need to sometimes sit down with one’s co-workers/clients/leaders face to face and talk through plans/issues/concepts.

  2. Brian says

    I have always been a proponent of integrating work and life in ways that are healthy. I was just born too early. We are finally getting to paperless “offices” that are where we are. You really can be at work while sitting on a beach! It is an exciting world. When choosing careers and employers, dumb rules will be a deterant to employers. Workers now, and always have, need and demand respect for their integrity (they will do their jobs) and freedom to “float”. This is how I wanted to work/live. Now people can. As I have heard: “just do it!” :)

  3. says

    @Ang – you touched on a great point that I call ‘Digital Discipline’, also the name of the third book ;-)

    @Brian – so true, ‘dumb rules will be a deterrent to employers’

    @Karin – thanks!

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