I touched on this some time ago, but it’s time for a revisit.
Why does so much of the world involve 9-5ish business hours, and going to an office to do so?
What first set me thinking on this was tonights commute home. 43 minutes end-to-end, steady speed (so less emmissions and more MPG), and less stress. This is (roughly) 75% of the average lately, and the difference was that I had to change a router after business hours (after a failed attempt a couple of weeks ago), so left work just after 6pm, rather than the 4:30/5:30 rush hour.
Sadly, I don’t have the opportunity to work (say) 7:30 or 8:00-18:00 every day, aviod the traffic, and take a day off a week. That would do good things for me and the environment, but my employer, like many, wants me at my desk during the day.
If we’re talking about being at your desk during working hours, why in fact be there at all? I’m a network monkey: I support networks, servers, telephony etc etc. I could do 80-90% of my work from where I’m sat now with an IP Softphone (or a mobile) and VPN. I could conceivably only go to the office 1-2 days a week.
Even for meetings there’s plenty of products that can reduce or eliminate the need for people to travel to meet: If you have a national coverage, that can save a wedge. The Webex product is robust enough to do product demos over, and as a support tool for us techies it’s incredible. For one supplier I use, the account manager works at home several days a week, and I cannot tell if she is there or in the office: the phone seamlesly re-routes. An educational establishment I know of in the Black Country uses mobiles with wi-fi connectivity and SIP together with Asterix and makes the user’s internal extension appear seamlessly on their phone if they are at work, home, or anywhere in between and saves a truckload of cash in the process. I’ve done system upgrades sat on my sofa with a beer; Lee H-W has done his (techie) job from a campsite during the Gloucestershire floods.
So then: in our connected world, with all the enabling tech we have, why does the rush hour persist, at least for those of us office-based?
Will rising traffic levels and environmental concerns see this pattern end?