The Virtual Office

In the workplace, chance hallway meetings convey group status like "Joe's out sick today", "I'm still working on that proposal", or "I'll get back to you after my lunch meeting". In addition, hallway encounters build valuable relationships.

On the other hand, hallway meetings encourage excessive smalltalk, and distract workers in nearby cubicles. See DeMarco & Lister's Peopleware, for common problems with physical offices.

A physically distributed work group has no such shared hallway, and communication suffers. The solution is the virtual office, which provides essential communication, relationship building, and task status more efficiently than hallway chat.

Virtual Office Architecture

Best would be for workers to communicate as needed, efficiently, with a dusting of social contact. It may seem strange to engineer people's interactions, but that's architecture: designing spaces to make necessary interactions happen naturally.

Our goals are:

Rather than designing rooms and hallways, a virtual office architect works with phone and email policies. Our virtual rooms and hallways are:

Substantive changes:
    March 12, 1996: created.
    February 29, 2004: tightened.
Copyright © 1996,2004, Steve Colwell, All Rights Reserved
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