Ok, so as we were all met with some gorgeous weather today, thereby bringing a long awaited end to Snowmageddon, I began to reflect a little further on how crazy life is in the "normal routine." While I'm aware not too many people enjoyed being trapped inside for such an extended amount of time (which was obviously challenging under these conditions), I do think it gave us all a subtle taste of what it would be like if a common dream became more of a reality ... working from home.
It's no secret that the rapid advancement in technology has created new dynamics of the "office." In truth, I'd submit that a majority of us never really leave the office. We typically carry it around in our pockets, incessantly checking emails and staying "connected." The truth is that in this day age, our "offices" have less and less to do with location. I would have to say that the two main reasons I have a physical office is that it provides a common area for meetings to take place and a work room to print various materials and documents. But even those two amenities are becoming less and less advantageous. Most of my meetings take place at a restaurant or coffee shop than my office. And as we continue to migrate our work to the virtual world of the internet, I create more pdf's than I do hard copies so in a way, even the workroom is becoming somewhat obsolete.
Now, while I'll be the first to admit I did not lay out a rigorous work schedule during Snowpacolypse, I did in fact work. Perhaps more than any other time of my life, these four consecutive days of being confined to our homes showed us what a work week could look like if the "office" itself became obsolete.
At the risk of sounding lazy, unmotivated or complacent, I would argue that this recent experience has led me to think even more seriously that this is a direction all vocations should consider. Granted, certain professions make this a little more difficult. For example, teachers will always need to share a classroom with their students and doctors will always need some sort of medical facility to provide care. But beyond certain trades, I'm willing to venture a guess that a shift in this direction would have not only positive effects on productivity but on our culture as a whole. I would say the amount of interruptions at home are comparable to those you find at the office. While it would take some getting used to, I do think a routine could be established at home and allow for productivity to increase.
But the real advantage I would say comes from what this could do to strengthen the family. Sadly, our culture has watched the family structure continue to deteriorate at an alarming rate throughout the last several decades. People are married to their careers more than their spouses. We are better fathers to our clients than we are to our own children. We are more "connected" to our phones than the people with whom we share a home. Consequently, divorce continues to climb and children are forced to raise themselves ... even when the parents stay together. This fact has hit me harder this past year. Not surprisingly, since I just became a father myself and am 2 years into my career. I think this is a natural point to be evaluating these sorts of circumstances. However, I'm saying these things for more than just a personal reason. It is difficult to argue some of the Biblical principles Paul offers in so many of his letters. It is interesting that so frequently he addresses the churches by presenting the life-changing truth of the gospel. He then often proceeds to explain that encountering the gospel requires an inner transformation. We no longer live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Once this inner transformation begins to take place Paul almost always goes on to say that the next arena that demands our full attention and love is the FAMILY. That's often the first place we should see the gospel manifest itself in our lives. Sadly, as I look around today, it seems that ends up being the last place we think to take the gospel.
So maybe there is some value in embracing this technological shift and altering the way we approach the "office." Maybe the taste we got this past week can remind us all of the value of not letting our work demand more of our heart and attention than our family. So it was a small taste but one that has definitely left me saying ... I'm for it. Let's work from home and rediscover what our homes should truly be about.