Why Go to the Office?
“Work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” Sam Ewing
Over the course of a year, forty four million people worldwide may begin the day by waking up in the morning, pouring a cup of enthusiasm, and then walking into their office in bunny slippers, pajamas or whatever suits them (1). Whether their “office” is the kitchen table, the basement, or a hotel room, these individuals experience unique benefits but not without challenges. Take Kelly for example, she enjoys the flexibility of working from home because she has a small child, but on any given day you may find her simultaneously doing the laundry, chasing her three year old, and feeding the dog, all while she waits for the web conference to start. Then there is Robert, who used to get up at 4 a.m. in order to beat traffic and make it on time to the office, but his new job requires that he collaborate with his teammates on a regular basis. His teammates however, don’t live on the same continent; one is in Madrid and the other one in Peking. Both Kelly and Robert cannot successfully perform their jobs unless they make mental and physical shifts.
The term “work shifting” (2) is used to describe what happens when people find themselves working out of trains, hotel lobbies or their kitchen table. The idea of working or going to school in your pajamas is not a new concept. There are plenty of ads out there highlighting the advantages of working or learning through digitally mediated tools. Currently however, there is an increased interest in “telecommuting” and online learning because organizations now rely on technology to do more with less. The Pajama Effect however, is more than changing your work location from the traditional office space to a corner in your home or hotel room. The Pajama Effect is a state of being where you find yourself out of your element and where normal constraints and boundaries no longer apply. The Pajama Effect is a psychological and then behavioral shift. To function optimally in this dramatically different environment, you want to focus on what it takes to be successful at “work shifting” in the virtual world. This new workplace wilderness is an environment that is physically detached, and where the traditional structure of the workplace has vanished. Interruptions and distractions abound, making it difficult to get the job done. #VirtualWork #PJEffect #RemoteWork