It has been a little over two years since I went all in. No more “experimenting” with going mobile and working remotely. I cut the tethers to a single desk and desktop and hit the road with my small collection of electronic devices. I must say things have been going quite well – better than I expected actually. To be honest, I still have my occasional fights with my internet service provider. I still have a lot to improve when it comes to managing my calendar so I am in the right place at the right time WITH good connectivity. All in all I am doing fine and learning how to get better at this every single day.
Recently I have heard from more and more business contacts as they continue to plan and/or execute their mobile strategy, and get ready to cut the tethers to desks and cubicles unleashing some of their key employees into this totally mobile world. I thought this might be a good time to share a little bit about my experience.
What do you mean, no desk?
A while back I told you the story of how I had to split a New York-based team into two buildings. Not only was this unsettling because some members of the team would be midtown and some downtown, but the new configuration moved most people out of offices and cubicles and into a “bench seating” set up (think of a trading floor). This sort of set up is fraught with all sorts of problems.
For example – you have to sit next to your colleague. Really NEXT to them with no divider. Also, where do you put your extra shoes? Everyone will see them if they are under your “table” versus your comfortable old desk. And finally, everyone will see and hear what I am doing and vice versa. Needless to say this was a major shift for my old team. Even though we worked for a global company with colleagues in every corner of the world, we could not get our heads around the idea of leaving the beloved desk.
To get ready, I decided to initiate “Where’s Nancy?” – a game like “Where’s Waldo?” I committed to be away from a desk and office fifteen days each month. The idea was to personally “walk the talk” and seamlessly work anytime, anywhere. I asked for volunteers to join me and a few brave souls did. Each day we posted a picture to our shared workspace and our colleagues tried to guess where we were. At the same time, I experimented with a variety of carrying cases for all of my “office supplies.” The bag got smaller and smaller as the months progressed until finally, I had a pretty small handbag that fit only my wallet, phone, mini tablet and a bunch of tangled wires and chargers. I lightened the load on my shoulders (literally), the boredom of the same commute, day in and day out, AND became more productive than I can ever remember. It didn’t happen all on day one of course. It took some work and some time. But as I got more comfortable, I also started to see that I was getting a lot more done – both inside and outside of work.
I checked in with a dear friend just a few days ago and guess what? All is well in the two brick and mortar offices, work is getting done, and extra shoes out in the open don’t seem to be an issue. I chuckle now when I think about the Where’s Nancy game. Two years later and I no longer need my wallet in that handbag thanks to mobile banking and mobile payments. With what we have cooking here at Sitrion, I expect many more of you who work with us will be enjoying the freedom, flexibility, and productivity of mobile in a bigger way than you ever imagined.
In the two years since I gave up the comfort of a familiar building and a more structured big corporate environment, I have never looked back. I would not trade my mobility and flexibility for anything. Talk to me if you are planning to go there or if you are on your way. As always, I am happy to connect with you and exchange ideas. @NancyGillHR