We are about to witness the most legendary game of tug-of-war this side of your local firehouse fundraiser. On one side, we have the workplace, with its spaces designed for optimal efficiency, concentration of coworkers allowing for easy collaboration and opportunities for socialization. On the other hand, we have the remote work arrangement, with its flexibility, tech industry new car smell, and promise of employees working from Bali or Cancun or, more likely, their beds.
Of course, for every true digital nomad sharing photos of the “view from their office,” you have a remote worker who for whatever reason just can’t make the working part of work from home work for them. And for every remote worker who wished he had an office to go to, there’s an office-bound employee who wishes she could see the sky while typing into Excel.
Unlike most tug of war games, there probably won’t be a clear resolution to the question of which side will win. Instead, we will have to find hybridized methods to bring the fun loving “work-from-anywhere” atmosphere to the professional setting. The best way to do this may be by creating more usable outdoor space. Why not? We already have recaptured the outdoors for almost every other kind of activity. The first outdoor music festival took place in the U.K. yesterday, for whatever that is worth. I have even seen a gym in my home town that has completely relocated its equipment onto the parking lot. Before you roll your eyes and tell me “big deal, I have that in my town too,” I should say that I live in Tuscon, Arizona, and as I write this I am looking at my thermometer as it breaks the 110° mark. But, you know, it’s a dry heat and all that.