Far out in the unchartered backwaters of the unfashionable end of the working world lies a small, unregarded workplace called the office. The place you would go five days a week, after commuting for a quarter or more of your working day.
If you were lucky, you’d have a cubicle of your own (or even a door if you hit the jackpot) from which to crank up motivation and imagination and ignite waves of creativity to share with your colleagues at the weekly WIP meeting.
There would be a kitchen with a fridge into which you’d stuff your sealed plastic container of last night’s leftover spaghetti for lunch (with your name on it, of course, lest a cheeky co-worker steals it). The quintessential coffee maker stuck on permanent brew to keep those neurons firing. A water cooler – drawing colleagues like a beacon to gather, debrief, share office gossip, and take some impromptu time out.
Then came a pandemic that destroyed the universal office as we knew it, ushering in a new era called remote working.
Treework – working in the wilderness
Recently, we were lucky enough to take part in an ingenious, innovative event sponsored by Busch Beer that highlights the limitless possibilities of remote working.
Treework is designed to revolutionize the concept of the working day by unscrambling the archetypal office structure and taking it to the wilderness.
In fact, Treework was held in the middle of nowhere in Colorado, one of the most picturesque and remote places in the U.S. But far from having to send smoke signals to communicate, we had full WiFi connectivity, with consistent, powerful connections speeds that enabled us to get things done.
Treework is the ultimate co-working solution, taking remote working to a whole new level by illustrating that with the right technologies, productivity, motivation, and creativity can happen anywhere.
The break-out area
Our kind organizers were thoughtful enough to provide Busch Light happy hours and onsite grilling over campfires. We got to enjoy natural air conditioning and well-ventilated shelter from the elements if needed. And where better to get inspiration than the vast, open, starry night sky.
The huddle room
Busch Brewing is known for its innovative marketing campaigns demonstrating its passion and appreciation for the great outdoors.
Before the event, we received minimal information about what was to come. To add to the excitement and mystery, we were given GPS coordinates to get to the workspace instead of an address.
Once we arrived, we were provided with full, high-speed WiFi, allowing for video calls with minimal issues.
The water cooler
The workspace was limitless, with views that could only be described as spectacular.
The office space
After finishing for the day, we were treated to a team happy hour, and with the freedom of the great outdoors and the option of camping under the stars, it was hard to grasp that this was a ‘normal’ working day.
While Treework might be considered a fun and ‘extreme’ example of remote working, it perfectly highlights the new paradigms of today’s working culture. It shows that workers can step outside the restrictions of the conventional office and take more control over how they manage their own productivity.
In today’s hybrid workplace, we’re all navigating new cultures that facilitate a better work/life balance. The benefits to our mental health, emotional and physical wellbeing, and levels of achievement are boundless.
Today’s technology has provided us with tools that allow us to step away from the often-cloistered confines of the office, regimented timetables, and viewless conference rooms.
Almost two years on from the pandemic that catapulted us into the new normal, we’ve come to realize that a static desk doesn’t make a productive worker. Collaboration doesn’t have to involve traveling to another state or country to meet with colleagues and clients face to face.
Treework was an incredible experience but probably a little extreme. For many people, the blending of spaces at this level (i.e., mixing work with pleasure) doesn’t work, and there needs to be a clear delineation between the workspace and the not-at-work space.
Any remote working situation is subject to the same technical issues that can happen in-office, like dropped calls, poor video quality, bad connectivity, etc.
This is where the need for performance management solutions comes in. IR Collaborate fits in perfectly with today’s emerging hybrid working culture by helping ensure seamless communication and collaboration experiences and fast problem resolution.
The ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything…
Inclusive cultures, agile leaders, and digital dexterity are more vital than ever in today’s workplace. Among a continuum of options from work-anywhere to a full return to the office, leaders will need to find their organization’s optimal landing point, balance the paradoxes, and continuously learn and develop their chosen model with their teams.
Leaders who take the time to continuously listen to their people will find the model that will support their organizational purpose and strategy. Building on gains, rather than returning to the past, will retain the productivity, efficiency, and silo-busting of remote work as well as the culture, collaboration, and innovation they’ve always strived for.
…or is it back to business as usual?
For some large corporations, however, remote working or even switching to a hybrid model is not on the cards. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, has said that “Working from home doesn’t work for people who want to hustle, doesn’t work for culture, doesn’t work for idea generation. By September, it will look just like it did before.”
Likewise, James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley said, “If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office.”
It’s those leaders who focus on the process, tools, and climate for creativity – regardless of whether people are in the same room, completely distributed, or hybrid – who will enable the most innovation.