In a world which is littered with fantastic buildings from the magnificent Petronas towers, to the skyscrapers of New York, imagine how much energy was use to build them, only for them to be left barren and unused over 50% of the time.
Imagine if we had saved 50% of the energy we’ve used to create those buildings and how much less carbon we might have produced as a result of working and being an efficient planet? Would we be in this global warming crisis we are in today?
We cannot change what has passed, however we can adapt and change moving forward, and one fundamental shift which I believe is already happening, is the move to complete remote working, a dispersed working model (DWM) as I call it, where people can do their job anywhere, and be just as efficient, if not more so, than working in a purpose built office.
So how are buildings left empty over 50% of the time? Think about it, what’s the building doing when you are sound asleep at home? What are your typical working hours that you actually spend in the office?
Whist you are sound asleep at home I can guarantee you that the building you call your office, is draining the worlds energy, for no other reason than just being there. All the time adding it’s carbon output to the problem we all face in the world, climate change.
I took a step back and wondered what has been the patterns over time which has caused this to be the reality we live it.
When I looked at tribal society hundreds of thousands of years ago, it is pretty obvious that back then, everyone worked from home. There wasn’t a notion of a centralized working space, most people did what their skills were and served their local tribe.
It was only when humans began serving larger groups of people, that a need arose to organise more than a few people to create more things. Teams started to build up, tribes started to grow and soon after tribes became bigger than a few families, communities were developed in early tribes.
One of the first places of centralized work, would have been either the community hall, or the leaders hall. Both places allowed the leaders to control and organise their men into efficient groups of people, all serving different purposes. This was in fact necessary for survival. In a way, this mimics that nature of cells and how when humans were just a group cells, they joined forces with other cell structures to become more resilient in order to survive.
Has it always been about survival? That’s a different question altogether.
What’s important to recognise is that this continued over the ages. Community halls became small towns, which then because small industries and lead to various groups of people getting together to do more stuff. People began gathering in markets to sell more things to more people. People in turn were equally attracted to markets as they contained many items in one place that solved various problems people had in their lives.
The fundamental reason people needed to gather for all these activities, is the act of communication. People needed to talk and communication to efficiently work together for the greater cause. They needed to talk to do business, to build armies, to hunt for food and make clothes for winter.
It was the act of communication that drew people together, and as the story enters into modern history, that need for communication continued to drive people closer and closer together into larger and larger work places.
Even the invention of the telephone didn’t stifle this need to be working in the same place. In fact it only served to accelerate the growth of offices and centralized working spaces. People needed to be in the same place, to hear and to see, and also to feel with their intuition about the other person they were talking to. The human broadband connection that some writers have talked about.
What is interesting to me, is that fundamentally, we have reached a stage in technological development which now gives us virtually real-time face to face communication from any place on the planet. That instant communication we needed with visual and audio connection now exists in the palm of our hands, and we have seen the start of the dispersal of the workforce, back to their own work spaces.
Over the last 15 years, we have seen a slow adoption of remote working practices all over the world. As internet technology grows, some companies are testing out remote workers and seeing if it might be a solution to their problems. Space in large cities is more scarce than ever, and in order for companies to survive, they are looking towards cutting their costs by allowing staff to work from home.
This is the new way of working, a dispersed model whereby people can work anywhere at any time and still be instantly connected to all their teams and staff all over the world.
It’s not a matter of whether it will happen, it has already begun, and you will see this more and more as companies grow into this new age of instant visual communication. There are already multi-million pound companies out there with over 50 employees and they don’t have offices. These people have created systems and work practices which addresses the obstacles of remote working teams, proving that it’s possible to do this as long as you can allow yourself to shift into this new paradigm of working.
My mission is to help this process along, to teach people how the first step might be creating an online business, but as you grow, how you can build that business virtually and create a sustainable existence and smooth running operations, without the need for a wasteful office space.
In my vision of the future, I see offices transformed from energy suckers to energy producers, somehow adapted to create the energy which is has consumer in its many years of baroness. Commuting will be reduce, relieving the strain on transportation in big cities, and relieving the pain of commuting for commuters whose souls are destroyed by the daily machine of getting to work.
Communities will come alive again as people tend to spend more time in their local area, with the community hall growing in importance once again as a place of global collaboration between communities. The home space will evolve and no longer will it just be seen as a space for living, but a space for living and working and entertaining. This will in turn change the nature of how homes are built and how space is more efficiently used both inside and outside the house.
People are generally happier with life as the pressures of office politics and big company bureaucracy no longer get in the way of them doing a good job. In fact most people begin to enjoy their jobs even though they might still be an employee, the fundamental autonomy provided to them by remote working means they can deliver the results as well as run their own lives more effectively.
Do you think this is possible to make this change?