The modern workplace is shifting towards a more ad hoc approach vs. a scheduled interaction according this The Economist’s excellent article Labour movement.  This article defines nomadism in the current work world:

Today’s work nomadism descends from, but otherwise bears little resemblance to, the older model of “telecommuting”, says Mr Ware. That earlier concept became popular in the 1990s thanks to cheap but stationary telecommunications technologies—the landline phone, the fax and dial-up internet. Because it still tied workers to a place—the home office—telecommuting implicitly had people “cocooning at home five days a week”, he says. But people do not want that: instead, they want to mingle with others and to collaborate, though not necessarily under fluorescent lights in a cubicle farm an hour’s drive from their homes. The crucial difference between telecommuting and nomadism, he says, is that nomadism combines the autonomy of telecommuting with the mobility that allows a gregarious and flexible work style.

That is an excellent explanation, isn’t it?  This trend is already in place and growing.  Mobility has become the emancipating factor in the equation.  Large companies are jumping into the nomadic ways too:

At Sun Microsystems, a company that makes hardware and software for corporate datacentres, more than half of the workforce is now officially nomadic, as part of a programme called “open work” in which employees have no dedicated desk but work from any that is available (called “hotdesking”), or do not come into the office at all.

And one good outcome of this?

Mr Schwartz, like Messrs Boyd and Coburn, has also noticed that he is having fewer “flesh meetings”.

…With more than 100,000 customers, he finds that he communicates far more efficiently through his blog, which is translated into ten languages and “on a good day reaches 50,000 people.”

…But in general he finds that “face-to-face is overrated; I care more about the frequency and fidelity of the communication.”

The article is long, but well worth the read.

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