We “Zoom”. Do you “Zoom”? Staying connected and productive these days is challenging but that’s how a whole lot of us have to do it now. I’m still getting to the office super early. And I’ve never seen “rush hour” on the West Shoreway like that second photo from the top. It’s from a You Tube video that Cleveland.com posted. BTW, in that photo, you can see my office and buildings right over that cool billboard. :-)) So, we just have to settle in and work the way that works best for us. Just gotta’ get ‘er done!
Like you, I’ve been forced to learn some new skills when it comes to “working from home”. I’ve always had an office in the house, set up to mimic my KHT HQ workspace, with monitors, printers, filing, workflows and the like. What’s sooo cool for me, with our advanced KHT technology, I can log into our various furnaces in real-time to see how your wonderful PIA (pain in the @%$) Jobs! are coming along. I have to admit, with my spectacular team, I am now am able to do that for fun, not out of necessity! The jury is still out on whether Jackie is ready for me to spend more time at home!!
With all of our online conference calls, new work habits and fun stories and videos of people working from home (my favorite is people changing from their morning PJ’s to their evening PJ’s), I did a little digging to find out how we got to this point. Of course, early mankind never went to “the office or factory”, but over time this shifted with the rise of automobiles and big manufacturing. As technology has made it easier to WFH, people have drifted back to remote work and home offices. Special thanks to fastcompany.com, flexjobs.com and Wikipedia for the info. Enjoy! And be kind to your housemates.
- In the beginning (of work), there was no such thing as going to a different place to labor. Early humans foraged for plants and hunted animals for food. Going to a workplace was not common as most lived off the land within a close proximity of their dwelling.
- The “working man” was so named because of their use of advanced tools. Evidence from charred animal bones in fossil deposits and traces of their camps indicate they crafted these tools close to their dwelling places and used fire.
- Clustered at home became more regular in medieval England in what was known as the “longhouse,” inhabited by peasants and their livestock at either end of a building. In the middle, there was the kitchen, as well as an area for spinning/weaving/dressmaking, dairy, butchering, and tanning. Living and working in one building was efficient and convenient.
- Some work homes called “top-shops” had a steam engine at one end and a single driveshaft with long belts attached to machines, linking power-looms in the individual weaving lofts to allow them to compete with factories. Belt driven drive shafts become common in industrial settings in the 1800’s.
- With the Industrial Revolution came a need for automation and the creation of factories. Huge machines and large-scale productions required employees to be present in-house to complete their work. This is also when people started commuting to designated “office spaces.” But even this didn’t last forever.
- During the Industrial Revolution, home-based work continued to thrive as shopkeepers, funeral parlors, and schools featured proprietors and teachers living and working in the same building.
- This trend continued into the 20th century in the United States. The immigrants who flowed into New York City during the late 1800s and early 1900s often took in work in their tenement apartments, where the heat and lack of fresh air led to the term “sweatshops.” Hand work was common and efficient.
- While WWII saw the rise of women in the workplace, peacetime relegated them back to their homes to raise traditional families. Two innovations occurred: one was the invention and manufacture of plastic containers to store food and other goods using an industrial byproduct created by Earl Tupper; the other was a way to sell them, created by Brownie Wise, a woman who’d become a salesperson for Stanley Home cleaning products. She piggybacked off of the Stanley Home party model and created her own “patio parties” as a way to get housewives to sample the products and have fun while doing it. This spawned an entire industry of in-home sales. Other companies like Avon and Amway spread rapidly.
- The 50’s and 60’s saw the growth of the suburbs, with more Americans having “a place of their own That’s when Jack Nilles was working remotely on a complex NASA communication system that he coined the word “telecommuting.” Nilles went on to coauthor The Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff, which proposed working from home as a solution to traffic tangles.
- By 1975, the first “personal” computer is introduced. Employees are finally able to work remotely outside of the office and eventually get to take their work on-the-go with a smaller machine.
- In the 1980s, companies began officially experimenting with flexible work. For example, IBM installed “remote terminals” in several employees’ homes during that time, and the program flourished to the point that by 2009, 40% of IBM’s 386,000 global employees already worked at home. Savings ensued, as the company noted that it had reduced its office space by 78 million square feet and saved about $100 million in the US annually as a result.
- In 1990, the internet is born, and the World Wide Web helps connect remote workers with email and virtual office tools.
- 1997: Google launches the powerful search engine we know today. Google Search breaks down barriers and creates a place where employers and employees can find each other no matter where they live. You can still locate remote work or workers anytime today, all from performing a simple Google search.
- The 2000s come and wireless internet and broadband open the floodgates. Remote employees can finally work without being tied to a physical location for their ethernet internet connection. This also makes slow speeds from dial up internet a bad memory of the past as “logging in” becomes second nature to workers and teams.
- LinkedIn launches in 2001 and connects millions of professionals across the globe. For the first time employees can network with old friends or coworkers, reach out to potential employers, and follow their favorite companies to see what’s new on this professional platform boasting 562 million users across 200 countries and territories.
- In 2003, a surge of remote workers inspires Skype, a better communication tool for virtual employees. This video conference software helps organizations maintain genuine face-to-face connections with employees even if everyone’s working remotely.
- Virtual meeting software GoToMeeting (GTM) goes live in 2004, helping employees “meet” in a virtual conference room to share presentations, files, and brainstorm together. GTM currently has 2 million active daily users. Newer products like Zoom flood our kitchen tables today.
- Slack, in 2009 becomes the fastest-growing business application in history, creating a way for teammates and managers to communicate from anywhere. Slack continues to be the glue holding entire remote teams together, supporting over 8 million active daily users.
- In 2012, Google introduces its suite of office tools and digital file storage, known as Google Drive. This becomes the modern-day workspace where employees, both in-house and remote, access important documents and files while also collaborating and giving feedback in real time.
- By 2016, Dell reports an annual savings of $12 million since expanding its telecommuting and remote work programs. Reports like these prove remote work is beneficial to employers just as much as remote employees. Major tech-heavy cities like Austin and San Francisco report 60% and 30% of their job offers went to remote workers, respectively. Now many employers would rather have access to top talent, even if it means going outside of their corporate zip code to do so.
- By 2018, over 4.3 million people work from home in the United States at least half of the time – a figure that has grown 150% in the last 13 years. The future of remote work continues to explode, and the technology to support these needs only gets better.
- And, of course, the corona virus of 2020 has changed everything – with 95% of the workforce pushed home for safety.
- Your next remote job interview could be through a Facebook Portal chat that follows you around the room, or a robotic iPad that gives you a tour of the interviewer’s office as if you were standing right there in person. It’s also even easier to find jobs as a remote worker these days. Thanks to sites like We Work Remotely, you can connect to the top employers who already know the benefits of hiring remote talent and are ready to do so.
- While remote workers of the pre-Industrial Revolution days may have nothing in common with remote workers of the present, it’s still proof that remote work has been quietly evolving since the beginning of the workforce as we know it. Most remote workers have no intentions of leaving for greener pastures. This means companies maintain higher retention rates and waste less money training new recruits. And since many of the benefits outweigh the cons, remote work shows no signs of fading away.
- But I still love coming into the office to work closely with my highly motivated team of PIA jobs solvers!!
Feel Good Song of the Week
Just sit back, crank it up, drift back in time and chill – concert version: CLICK HERE