Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

My Telework Center Dream

One of the trends that I predict we will see growing in the near future is the proliferation of teleworking centers. The word teleworking brings to mind working from home, which is the most common, especially amongst government workers.

The current administration has been making a push towards teleworking, which now involves about 20 percent of the workforce. Typically, people telework only one or two days a week. There is resistance in allowing workers to telecommute every day of the week, because middle management particularly have the “out of sight, out of control” mentality. There is a lack of trust on how their employees will use their time, and visions of them lying on their sofas watching Oprah and eating popcorn come to mind. However, the nature of work has changed considerably. The majority of office work is computer based. Results can be measured by productivity, and not by physical presence in an office.

The advantages of telework are already well known. Less cars in the road, less traffic and pollution. Less dependance on foreign oil, less expenses, less stress. Workers can be close to their children’s schools and participate more actively in their communities.

With the suburbanization of America, people are living further and further away from work. For employers, teleworkers can mean less office space, cutting rent costs. Unfortunately, workers in the service, construction, security, medical and educational fields will not be able to take advantage of teleworking.

With the advancements on technology, such as wide band internet access and high definition flat screens for teleconferencing, you can really do almost everything from a remote location. However, not everyone has the equipment and the appropriate environment at home to work comfortably and in privacy, like those with small children, dogs and no office space except a kitchen table. Add to that the fact that being home alone 5 days a week can be very isolating and boring.

That is when the new concept of teleworking centers comes into play. Teleworking centers are offices located in specific neighborhoods, to cater to office worker within a 5 mile radius. Workers can quickly drive or walk to these centers, where they will find a fully equipped office space. Not only that, they will be able to interact with other workers in a common space such a lounge or a break room. They will have available IT help with their computers. They can be visited by a telework coordinator from time to time.

I think telework centers will change the face of America. You can see the trend starting with the town centers in the Washington DC area. New town centers, replicating the old city centers of the 1900’s, with plenty of walking space, started popping up. Reston Town Center in the Northern Virginia suburb and the Kentlands in Montgomery County, MD, are successful examples. With telework centers in every American suburb, we will improve the quality of life of many people.

My dream teleworking center would have:

1) A private office space with state of the art computers

2) A gym

3) A coffee shop close by

4) A lounge area to socialize

5) A kitchen

6) Secure entrance

7) Restaurants and food services nearby

8) And, last but not least, a NAP room. Yes, you heard it right. A nap room with a timer where people could take a short nap to restore themselves. After all, office work can get boring…and make you sleepy. Quality of life after all!

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December 16, 2009 - Posted by | Society, Workplace

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