(I’m always touched by your) Presence, Dear- why being in the office still matters

In this age of flexibility and mobility, why do we still cling to presence in the workplace? Here are ten possible reasons:

  1.  We have been brought up on the importance of “home”, as opposed to the emptiness and anomie of mobility – reinforced through family, culture, games and popular sentiment
  2. The hope of chance encounters – whether professional or personal, there is always a possibility that a chance interaction may change our day, or even our life
  3. As much as we try to dismiss the notion or rationalise its senselessness, “out of sight” still essentially means “out of mind”
  4. We think we may miss something, even though we are always amazed at how little changes when we are not there and that we never actually miss anything at all
  5. It’s all laid on – we often get fed and watered, either for free or with a helpful subsidy
  6. Habit helpfully removes a tranche of things we might otherwise have to think about – like where we are going to work for the day or part of it – it’s simply easier to go to the same place every day
  7. We cannot help but be suspicious of what others are thinking and doing that may be to our disadvantage if we are not there to monitor and occasionally surprise them – even if we flatter ourselves that anyone may be at all concerned about us
  8. The sarcasm that colours the barbs about sunbathing, shopping, drinking (to name but a few) offered to those not within eyeshot – hollow as they are – still create the perception and feeling of being unfairly judged
  9. We are concerned with who may actually be sitting in “our” chair – the odd sensation that we may return to find “our” desk and seat occupied by a stranger, with the terrible sense of having been unfairly displaced
  10. Mobility is still relatively new in the 20th and 21st centuries – these ideas take time to bed in and become mainstream – just because a small number of organisations have gained disproportional exposure for adopting such approaches, the majority of organisations have not – give it time

As Blondie asks – “was it destiny?” Yes, mobility is destiny – in progress.


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