“You are out of tune with the times if you are in the office more than one-third of the time.” — Tom Peters, Thriving on Chaos, 1987
When it comes to being in touch with workers and customers alike, the words of Peters, the management guru, ring true more than two decades later. But the world has changed too. With the rise of the Internet and, more recently, social media, we can have instant or quick feedback from co-workers, peers and clients at any time. The amount of work and connections achievable with an iPhone transcends anything imagined in the 1980s. So does his analysis still seem valid?
For years, I’ve viewed e-mail as one of the best things that ever happened to my line of work. But now I’ve learned that it’s almost always easier to reach students via Facebook than email. My intern and I communicate via Twitter, and through tweets I’ve virtually attended great conferences or shared information from my conferences. Via various social-media methods, I can take care of so much business without leaving my desk and the MacBook Pro that is my window on the world.
But can even real-time electronic communication replace face-to-face communication? I would argue it can’t. Whenever I walk through our Campus Center, I almost always seem to run into people and conduct business. Whether it’s someone pitching me a story, an idea to start a new project or a conversation that replaces an unreturned phone call or email, a few random encounters can achieve more than a raft of calls, e-mails or messages via social media.
So does stuck in the office still mean stuck in the office? What do you think?