I spent more than 40 years of my working life going someplace. Yes, I went up along the way. But I mean I went to a place of business. In high school it was a printing company with photography equipment and printing machines. Then it was a tennis facility where I taught a few people, cleaned up some and shut the place down at night. In college, the first job was at a restaurant, Jack-In-The-Box, for two weeks, mostly working the grill and closing down the restaurant. Fortunately, for the tennis and squash teams, I got a job at the college tennis facility which made doing homework a lot easier, as well as practicing. One of the more fun activities was doing stroboscopic work with serving tennis balls for the students taking Doc Edgerton’s (the inventor of strobe photography) class.
Then, came work-study at General Electric R&D, a job with GE Aerospace out of school, a transfer to GE Medical. Jumping to another company, it was Eaton in Milwaukee and Watertown, WI and Kalamazoo, MI. Finally, a corporate career jump to Daimler Trucks in Portland, OR. I always had to have an office and show up there regularly and attend meetings. For the last six years, as a Business Accelerant™ I am not constrained quite so much and am both happier and more efficient with my home office and technology allowing me to be face-to-face in meetings around the world.
Physical office space often goes unused. Sales people are most often out in the field. CEO’s and Presidents are often visiting with customers, going to investor meetings, checking in on company manufacturing facilities, attending conferences. I doube anyone has tallied the percentage of time an office is unoccupied due to travel of the holder. I can recall attending many meetings in a day, so much so that even though I was “in the office,” I was not in “my” office.
Many aspects of training can be accomplished remotely, while essential hands on stuff needs to be supervised. Truck technicians have to complete lots of “book work” by studying material on line and watching videos before they tear apart the vehicle. Similarly, a doctor needs to study an awful lot before attempting the operation to remove the appendix.
There is no question that it is imperative to have people working together. But, more and more that is not done by having people congregate in the same conference room or stand around the vending machine in the break area. It is accomplished by regular interaction via email, phone, video phones, video web conferences. Don’t get hung up on a place to hang up your coat.