Wonder where this all is going? I just came across "Flex Your Force: Building Your Virtual Office," a very forward-thinking interview with Sun's VP of Open Work Services, Anne Bamesberger. I love that it's from last year, which doubles the forward-thinking quotient here...and that I got to it from an alert set to my name, which linked to a comment I'd made (referencing the green teams theme here) on an HBR Online article on the carbon footprint of work.
Bamesberger has a startling stat: There are approximately 60 million knowledge workers" in the US alone ... well suited to operat[ing]" in "an Open Work environment," meaning they move around, have suitable collaborative spaces to convene in, and are equipped with excellent IT support and HR policies. Bamesberger figures that merely 5 million of them "are supported by a formal strategic program. The remaining 55 million are becoming more distributed on a daily basis, but being unsupported, they have unprotected, sensitive information with them. If they are running around with mobile phones that nobody is supporting or managing, how do you protect the enterprise IP?"
Whatever you call this new style of work, it's an epidemic. Recently, we've been working from a chicken coop on an island that has no bridges, roads, or stores while engaging in conference calls, sending those all-precious documents, scheduling meetings, and generally acting like we're all dressed up and in the office, i.e. we have high-speed internet, allowing us to watch the political conventions and the news on the very same screens where we're typing. This is all entirely different from the way it was even a year ago.
I'm glad to see Sun pushing at this from so many directions. And they have been for years. We profiled Sun Teams in our book, Virtual Teams; Jonathan Schwartz was in the first handful of CEOs to blog (corporately, Sun has skadzillons of blogs) ; they're doing virtual worlds stuff for collaboration; getting good results from telecommuting...and now this very good thinking from Ms. Bamesberger. All organizations need to regard this new way of working as intrinsic to their strategies.