The world seems to be talking about digitalization. It's rather elusive subject at times. I like to think of digitalization in very simplistic way: how much does it save effort?
The core of digital work (in software) is keeping your eyeballs on the screen, your mind concentrated, and the environment in a shape that supports you physically. The rest is minor things. There's thus quite few real pre-requisites for successful work:
- fast Internet access
- 220V outlet for laptop charger (ie. normal electricity)
- a table for work
- decent weather (preferably indoors)
- calm atmosphere (not too much buzz and noise around)
There are of course some aspects of team work involved, but basically for the sake of keeping the story simple, we can think of the software and consultancy work as place-independent.
In the spirit of American economist Thomas Sowell, let's ask "what's beyond the obvious". We ask the "what implications does remote working actually have", beyond this explicit definition we just gave.
- work quality
- work amount
- customer benefit
- benefit for the corporation (employer)
- environmental benefits
- any other pros?
- what about cons?
One of the biggest promises of digitalization is that it makes location (and time) irrelevant. That's one really interesting feature I found, working at Mainio Tech, a Helsinki-based software consultancy company. The infrastructure was in its native form designed so that it supported remote work. The tools and setup was there, no need to "start thinking" of how to enable remote work. It made a big impression on me. It was also a strong "Eureka!" moment to observe what it takes for things to click properly.
Sometimes there are technical barriers to remote work. They're often in reality overcome with technology. The question remaining is the shared vision of what can be achieved with a distributed workforce.