Agile working – and it’s challenges

I have recently changed roles at Herman Miller, having accepted the Leadership of the EMEA Insight Group. This involves commissioning as well as sharing Insight into areas which we think will be of interest to our customers and partners. If you have suggestions on subjects around work, learning and healing which you would like to find out more about, then feel free to contact me and let know.
After that rather long introduction, I would like to get to the point of this blog. This new role means that I have fully embraced the agile working paradigm that I have for so long talked about. With that in mind, I thought I would share with you some of the challenges that I face.
1. Travelling Light
No matter what I do, and how hard I try, I just can’t travel light. Whether it’s my rucksack full of all the stuff I need for the day to day tasks, or my suitcase for when I’m staying away, I just can’t do it. 1 night away = 1 suit. 2 nights away = 2 suits. It’s an equation I can’t get away from, and I’ve tried and don’t get me started on the wash bag. Mine is as big as some people’s hand luggage. You never know you might need a sewing kit or nail clippers or a wet razor because the electric one’s broken!
2. Connecting
Wifi is still an enigma and a challenge. It can work painlessly and seamlessly in one location and fail miserably in another. It can be open and free, or alternatively secure and very expensive. Many hotels have chosen to use Wifi to recover all the revenue they now lose through people using mobile phones. The worst scenario is where Wifi is only free in the public areas and not in your room! It will not encourage me to buy your over inflated coffees or beers, even if I can put it on expenses.
3. ‘Out of office’
I am still astounded at the amount of bounce back emails I receive which tell me that somebody is ‘Out of the office, travelling on business’ in these days of mobile communications, why does anyone need to do this? Working anywhere is becoming so much easier, so that even if not immediately, most people will get to respond to the emails at some point, and usually within an acceptable time frame. You will not be getting an out of office email from me, unless I am on holiday.
4. Airports and dignity
I love airports. They still fill me with a sense of awe as I see the world before me. From the excited family starting their holiday to the seasoned traveller who has the whole routine down to a tee. What I hate though, like many other people, is the security check. It is belittling and undignified standing there with no shoes on, holding your trousers up and trying to gather everything up from the conveyor belt without leaving something behind and then trying to remember where you put everything. When will dignity ever return during security checks?
5. Choice and contact
I love that I have a choice of worksettings both in our office as well as outside the office. Whether it’s privacy or engagement, collaboration or contemplation, I know that there is somewhere I can go to meet the needs of the task in hand. I love the diversity of people I work with and those who I come in contact with outside of our business. No amount of virtual collaboration will ever replace that for me. Who wouldn’t be excited about a role which allows me to meet people in Bromsgrove, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Russia, Holland, Germany, South Africa, Prague and Saudi Arabia all In the space of 2 months?

Let me know if you are interested in hearing some more about our Insight programme. These seminars might be of interest http://hermanmiller.homestead.com/hmEvents.html

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About Mark Catchlove

All views are my own
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