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How can I be too busy to go to work?

by Jeffrey Mann  |  October 3, 2008  |  1 Comment

It sounds strange, but I realized this morning that I am actually too busy with my job to go to work. Like many analysts, I work primarily from home. Combined with the time I spend traveling, I rarely get the chance to go into my “official” office. I think that the last time I was in the Amsterdam building was in April.

This month I don’t have too much travel, so I was planning on going in this week to see my colleagues, check my mail box, and use the copier. My best intentions didn’t pan out though — I’ve been too busy, with too many overdue deliverables to get done. I can’t afford the time it takes to get on the tram/metro and make my way out to the office, or even to take the car. I know when I get there, I will have less time available to produce the stuff I have to get done. One of the reasons for going in is to to talk to people, a good thing to do, but it takes time away from other work.

It seems odd to say that I am too busy to go to the office. Isn’t that what offices are for? A place to do work? Not so much anymore, at least in my case. Increasingly I’ve seen the same thing with the clients I talk with. An office is a place to coordinate, socialize, and make connections. But as we increasingly adopt digital ways of getting things done, I can coordinate, socialize and make connections from anywhere. I can turn off email to get things done, and open up to email, IM, Twitter and RSS feeds when I’m looking for external input.

There still is a place for face to face meetings, but it won’t necessarily have to be in the office. I meet colleagues at events, on audio conferences, and at client sites. In fact, I expect that the office will increasingly start to look like The Office. Depending on face to face, location-based management leads to abuses and inefficiencies. Showing up early and leaving late shouldn’t be the key to success as much as actually getting things done.

Category: personal  

Tags: busy  office  

Jeffrey Mann
Research VP
14 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Jeffrey Mann is a research vice president for collaboration and social software at Gartner Research. Mr. Mann focuses on social software, team workspaces, the collaboration market and knowledge management. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on How can I be too busy to go to work?

  1. Mark Raskino says:

    This amazing time-slicing powers modern knowledge economies and our wealth creation has become dependent on it. Analyst work-life styles are a bit extreme but everyone experiences a bit of what Jeff mentions here.
    It is easy to forget how very energy intensive all this is. A lot of oil, gas and coal goes into making such a frenetic pace possible today.It seems likely policy makers will have to control our carbon emissions over the coming decade or two. Grand challenges ahead then, for the ‘weightless’ economy.

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