I’ve been workin’ in the virtual workspace, all the livelong day…

September’s big question on the Learning Circuits Blog is Where to Work? I think there are fewer questions that are more personal than what working environment is the “best”, so I don’t think I’ll try to generalize, but I will reflect a little on why I enjoy my work.

As is obvious from the placement of this post, I work for Q2 Learning, which markets software to facilitate online training and online collaboration.  Q2’s official mailbox is in Falls Church, Virginia, but our offices are quite literally on the web. That link above is sort of our reception area. This blog is a part of our Public Relations department. Behind it is a rabbit warren of project spaces and meeting areas and code repositories and document libraries which is where my colleagues and I spend our days.  Physically, most days, I’m at my desk in my home office, but tomorrow, I’ll take my office with me to the car and, through the miracle of wireless broadband through my mobile phone carrier, work from the passenger seat as my husband drives our family to Dayton, Ohio. where he and my son will be competing in the USAF Marathon Saturday.

At Q2, we communicate via IM and discussion post and telephone, all day long, so it doesn’t usually feel lonely.  I do think I’d enjoy having an office to pop into once or twice a week, because the full-bandwidth experience of people in person is almost always richer, and often more efficient.  But I’m cognizant of the very real advantages of the 30 second commute, and as the mother of teens, it’s difficult to measure the value of being able to offer the house where kids can gather on days off school because everyone knows there is an adult here.  When I do travel, it’s really great to be able to reach all the resources I have at the office from where ever I happen to be.

I value the high-trust, highly-collaborative culture of my workplace. I work with some extremely bright, extremely hard-working, and very funny people. Though they are not always acted upon, my recommendations are always considered carefully by the folks empowered to decide, which gives me a sense of high control over my destiny, at least at work!  The partners who own this firm make it a policy to deal as honestly and as transparently as possible with people inside and outside the organization, so even when I disagree with what they are doing, I usually understand what the thinking is which is driving their decisions.  That sort of transparency, and the credibility it builds, has seen this organization through some difficult times.  It also builds a culture of accountability, in which we count on each other to do what we say we’ll do, and don’t have to worry about being let down.

I love being part of a fast-moving, innovative organization. I love being a part of solving new problems each day. I sometimes am uncomfortable and feel things are moving too fast, but mostly, I’d be bored if they weren’t.  And I love being part of a team which brings to market a platform which makes it possible for other organizations to build the same kind of flexible workspace I value so much.