Michigan Expats - Commentary - See All Commentary
By Mr Sig
I have not ever seen my boss. She lives down in Tampa, and I live in the DC area. And while it will always be true that being in one place with the whole team is better for collaboration, this is simply not a reality for most large companies. Without doing any research or looking at any studies, I postulate that many companies have done the calculation and come to the conclusion that the value lost due to lack of physical collaboration can be and is made up for by being able to attract better and smarter workers by offering "Freedom of Location." Almost everyone in our IT department works from home, but these folks are able to deliver on very complex projects.
I strongly believe that the rise of broadband, cloud-based solutions, collaboration software, and a things such as video conferencing services and screen sharing will be a huge help to Michigan. If Michigan has strong internet pipes to support this sort of traffic, then the ever diminishing need for a company office will cause many people to choose more attractive places to live. Gone will be the need to "go where the jobs are." And, which state has a giant swarm of successful expats that want to return home? Why, Michigan of course!
The concept of "working from home" will only continue to become more prevalent, but it will be slow. Personally, the tools are not quite easy enough to use and the high quality solutions such as Cisco's Telepresence are still far too expensive to set up in the home. Until we get there, most companies' willingness to abandon the concept of an office will be slow (but steady).
While the right technology at the right price is still many years away, an inexpensive Michigan home with a 100Mbps fiber line and an "office" with a wall full of monitors and high quality audio will be an outstanding place to work. I'd certainly love to work there.
Am I going out on too much of a limb here? What do you think about this being one way for Michigan to grow? Given that the major broadband providers are focusing their best technologies on densely populated areas, do you think this will ever happen?