Rebooting the Workforce

After nearly two decades of working in an office, I recently decided to strike out on my own. You might have read about it. And almost overnight, the proverbial cubicle walls vanished, and I became part of a growing number of folks who work from cafés, home offices, or just about anywhere.

Broadband, as I have written in the past, is freeing us from the geographic restrictions. Will this trend continue to gain momentum? Hard to say, but early indicators show that office is where the laptop is.

The new virtual worker – equipped with a laptop, a broadband connection, a mobile phone and a desire to live a sockless lifestyle. Brent Simmons and Nick Bradbury know what I am talking about. Whether it is chasing your own dream, or part of the distributed team, the meaning of work is changing. It is for many of us who might work for say Yahoo or a Google, and use EVDO cards to stay connected, working as we ride the Caltrain.

With this change, come other realities. On a more personal level, deciding when to switch between personal and work time has been a challenge. Being productive when the easy chair beckons can prove to be a devil’s choice. Interaction, or the lack there of, with others is a constant challenge. How do you fight off the cabin fever?

What are the best tools and what is the right gear to stay in touch with your team? How do you motivate your distributed teams when you are all dispersed all over the planet? The answers for these questions are hard to come by, and it was precisely for these reasons, we are introducing a new group weblog/community, Web Worker Daily.

The idea for this community stemmed from reading posts by Greg Olsen, and talking to Niall Kennedy, who is the latest to Go Bedouin. Helping curate and manage this community of virtual workers is Jackson West, who is the lead writer for Web Worker Daily. (His thoughts are here.)

Joining in the effort is the entire GigaOM team, and lots of special friends. I would like to thank 1Lotus for coming up with a beautiful design on such short notice; and WordPress team for making sure we were ready for launch on Labor Day.

While we will write about tools you can use, what we really want is your stories. How you work? Your personal tool kits, your workspace, and just simply your story – anything that would help us web workers be more productive, happier and of course, the collective that is rebooting the workforce.