“Out of Office” is probably the most common auto-reply in the world – so popular there are even tutorials on how to write one. But times are changing and the term is gradually losing its meaning. From an email response telling people that you would not be working, “Out of Office” is becoming where more and more work really happens. To many, work is no longer a place you go, but a thing you do.
Virgin Group founder Sir. Richard Branson is one of these people. He recently said, “We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they [are] at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.”
Few of us have working lives similar to Branson’s, but there are many professions where being out of the office is actually required for the job. And, although his statement was in response to some companies moving away from allowing remote work arrangements, we get the feeling that the world is moving towards more flexible workstyles, not away from them.
The debate that has erupted in recent weeks around how and where people should work is important. How do we ensure that we can attract and retain the most talented people, that those people are motivated, productive and innovative, and that our company vision and culture is shared by everyone?
This is not black and white – it’s about providing the flexibility for work to evolve in the most efficient and satisfying way for employees, and moving work to the optimum time and place. If we only look at the Home vs. Office argument, we fail to see how the concept of the office itself is also changing.
I encourage you to read more about how work is changing in this week’s Podio blog. Or, if you want to share your “Out of Office” opinion, please do so below.