Why Do We Need An Office?
When I got the opportunity to write this for Cloud Powered Work, it was funny because I’ve been operating my small business like that for a while. I closed my offices a few years ago, and Rob and the rest of our team now work remotely, as well. What would we want with an office? We visit our clients where they work. Or more often, we just talk to them via Skype or GoToMeeting.
But how does that work?
Communication and Collaboration
The other day, I got a Dell XPS10 tablet with a keyboard accessory. I hadn’t tried Office365 ever. The last office I used was whatever came out two or three versions ago. To say that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Word? Word just worked and worked nicely and slick and fast. But that’s not really what I liked the most.
I liked that I could save my documents to SkyDrive, and that they’d just be accessible via any of my other devices. So I opened up Word on my Nokia Lumia 820 and pow. There was my document. No fuss at all. Just worked. And that’s what you want.
As for communications, I can connect with my team via Skype or GoToMeeting, and I can text them or dial their cell when I need them. I don’t have to walk down the office, tap on someone’s door and ask, “Got a minute?” In fact, most office-based interruptions go away when you have to think about it first and then send a message.
Protection From Myself
I lost my laptop about a year ago. It stinks when you lose something like this. You think, “Oh man. When did I last update my files? When did I do that backup?” Me? I just hated losing the device. But all the files were already in the cloud. In fact, if someone broke into it, they’d just find a bunch of apps waiting to link to the cloud, and nothing juicy or worth stealing. (Luckily, a really nice cab driver from San Francisco found my laptop and mailed it back to me. Unluckily, it was three days after I bought my replacement laptop.)
Protecting my company’s data without me having to think much about it is a cool reason to work in the cloud.
One of my paid jobs is professional speaker. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left the stupid USB “thumb” drive back at the hotel, or in my other pants, or anywhere but near enough to me to be worth it. (This is why all event planners try to force speakers to send their presentations months ahead of time, even though I refuse.)
With Office365 now, it’s attached to SkyDrive, so I just save my Powerpoint to the cloud, and who cares? I can get it wherever I need it.
Work From Many Devices
The other reason I don’t feel like I need an office is that I can just work from my phone while I’m standing in line at the coffee shop. I can grab my tablet and connect from there and see what’s what, jot off a few quick email replies. And if I need the full power of my computer, I can do that a little bit later from my place. None of that requires a bunch of cubicle space. If I can see the Internet, why not work from a beach chair instead of an office chair?
Some Places Still Need Convincing
I’ve worked for years with different companies to try and get the word out that they should set their staff free to work remotely. Tools like GoToMeeting and Skype and SkyDrive and DropBox and all these other competing-and-yet-complementary products are what your office needs to be considering. I looked around the Cloud Powered Work site and they had some white papers that might help, some research, some information that will give the folks upstairs some convincing, if need be.
What about you? Are you still keeping an office? What does it do for you?