Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nuke the Office:
10 reasons small nonprofit organizations should go virtual

1. You've probably got a good number of part-time employees, and the rest of your staff is probably traveling, so there's a bunch of space going unused right now.

2. Your rent most likely eats up a significant portion of your budget.

3. It's getting tougher and tougher to raise those unrestricted funds that go directly to rent and other on-site operating expenses.

4. Half your staff probably doesn't really get along with, and won't mind not seeing, the other half.

5. You've got no bureaucracy to support.

6. Down deep, you know there's no "exchange of ideas" among staff when they're in the office (see reasons 1 and 2 above)

7. You're already farming out most of your communications and other administrative tasks, and staff spends a large percentage of time managing vendor, member, and committee contracts, tasks, and relationships via phone, email, and off-site meetings.

8. Your bookshelves are filled with reports and monographs and books and brochures and pamphlets that: A) you never look at, and B) are probably available online by now.

9. Your decor is early 90's castoff furniture, and your artwork is either your organization's framed publications (BORING!) or IKEA posters (FLĂ„RKE HANNES-KRISTER!), which will impress nobody, since they've got them too.

10. You've inherited some previous organization's warren-like maze of offices, cubicles, and dead-ends that would give Mozart composer's block.

In olden days, before we could send information wirelessly ourselves, the office suite was all about communication. Letters, memos, faxes, meetings, phone calls - they all required we be physically present to generate and be answerable to communications. Today, it's even more about communication. And with cell phones, the Internet, email, overnight package delivery, we workers don't become obsolete, but the previous structure of our workplaces do. How many of us fret over the look of our Web site, but never give a second thought to our office design?

Read more about it:
What Gen Y Wants From Work at Web Worker Daily,
Twentysomething: Start a company in 3 days with 70 friends at Brazen Careerist.

I'll be weighing in on this issue again, with:
  • The real reasons for offices.
  • Answering the naysayers questions.
  • What to do with the money you'll save.
  • Creative ways to deal with the new markets you'll create.
  • What we'll still need offices for - and why we might not.

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