Today’s trip to NYC means a break from looking for a place to sit. Squatted in an office for the first time yesterday: too confining for a #corporatehobo
An expected Achilles heel in being a #corporatehobo: nowhere to go for hours of focused creative time.
Week 1: Lessons learned
Ok, after a week of being a corporate hobo I am going to jinx the whole thing and call it an unqualified success. Snap judgment? Absolutely, but that hasn’t stopped me before. Let me start with the bad stuff and then I’ll end on a happy note.
Downsides are surprisingly few:
- Interruptions; When you don’t have a door - or any defined space - it is easy to be interrupted. But hey, isn’t that what I kind of signed up for?
- Power: yeah, its the little things that kill ya. Keeping a phone and a laptop charged for 10 hours a day can be a real Achilles heel.
- Ergonomics: Not having an office means sitting at bean bag chairs, sofas and so on, hunched over tapping at the keyboard. My back will suffer if I dont start some better habits (Thanks to Jason P for the lap desk!)
Upsides are many:
- Change is good: the pattern interrupt has been invaluable. Moving, changing location, talking to new people, all that stuff has turned on my brain. At the risk of overstating it, it is awesome.
- People: I have talked to more new people in one week than I have in 6 months.
- Listening: sitting in new places allows me to listen to the discourse and the rhythm of the place. No, not eavesdropping. Just more environmental attentiveness.
- Minimalism: I want to post more on this later, but suffice to say that having no space means no longer hoarding tons of paper, magazines and presentations. It all gets dealt with asap - meaning responded to or tossed. Period.
- Visitor vs visited: Not having an office means I have to go to people to discuss their work and ideas vs. them coming to MY office and presenting to me. The simple act of going TO them, being the visitor and being on that side of the desk has had a profound impact on how I listen and engage. The feeling is much more collaborative, at least for me (I hope it is for everyone else, too, but I don’t know). This is a big one, so I’ll want to dig deeper in a future post.
- I did it: instead of talking about it for weeks and then doing nothing, that I did this is actually a bit of a victory. As someone who has flaked on more than a few “good ideas” it is nice to follow through for once.
Oversimplified? Probably. But overall, a killer first week. With the novelty in decline, I suspect more nuanced observations to come…
Tiny Time is no longer as useful
I find that small blocks of time are less productive as a corporate hobo: with 15 mins between meetings - and no office - it’s not worth setting up camp somewhere, only to decamp again quickly. High shoe-leather costs, as the economists say…
This may be a fatal flaw in an era where the best you can hope for is 15 free minutes.
Still, very much enjoying going officeless.
Day 4 as corporate hobo: Pity sets in?
People seem genuinely concerned for my lack of a home (thx). I suspect this will turn into disdain next week once the novelty wears off.
An exercise in minimalism
Not having an office means no storage. No where to put papers, magazines and detritus of business…all the things I swear “I am going to read. No really, I mean it.” That issue of Fast Company from 2007 is probably going to spontaneously combust before I read it.
Now, I have no room for papers and crap. I can reasonably only carry one or two things as hard copies. I purge instantly now when handed paper. For a dyed-in-the-wool pack rat, this is both scary and awesome. I am forced to deal with stuff in real time (something I will address in a future post) and ditch my Olympic-calibre procrastination skills.
Score one for #goingofficless…
Maybe we are all corporate hobos? When you are in meetings ALL day, an office is pretty superfluous…and everybody seems to be in meetings all the time.