Published August 31, 2010 by Gregg Schieve
We have a tradition here at Tweedee Productions. Almost every day at about 2:30, a small group of us will walk down to Ground Zero Coffee Shop for an afternoon shot of caffeine. The short walk gives us a chance to talk about things outside of the office. Our conversations range from our families, to the Packers, to the latest Hollywood movies - conversations that usually have nothing to do with work. I appreciate these walks and talks, and realize the benefits they have for the rest of the Tweedee team. Which brings me to my point in a round about way.
I just finished reading an article in the April issue of Inc. Magazine titled The Office Is Dead, Long Live The Office (I know, I'm a little behind in my reading!). For those of you unfamiliar with the magazine, they pride themselves in writing about up and coming companies, industry trends, and various business models that make some companies seem all too cool. So the editorial department at Inc. decided to live out a concept that it would typically write about - the virtual office. For those of you over 50 (like me), a virtual office or company is one that exists without formal headquarters. Its owners, executives and employees all work in separate locations, many times from home offices. They stay connected via a myriad of cool electronic devices, web cameras and free software. And many of these virtual companies, as reported in the Inc. article, are multi-million dollar virtual companies.
So after working as a virtual office for one month, the Inc. team produced a 10 page article about the pros and cons of virtual companies. Pros and cons like less overhead, more individual freedom, confused family boundaries, more legal costs, and a seemingly cooler work vibe. But what I found most interesting was the effect that the virtual office had on the Inc. staff. Some people loved it - working at home in PJs, working from a coffee shop, coming and going as they pleased. Others not so much - it was easy to become distracted from work, and mostly they felt lonely and disconnected.
That last notion hit home with me and was summed up by the comments from Inc. Magazine photo director Travis Ruse. His reaction made me appreciate what we have here at our non-virtual office. Travis said, "My job really became just about my job. I missed the distractions and surprises that my co-workers bring to the day. Part of working is the social aspect of doing something collaboratively. I missed that very much."
I started Tweedee Productions 12 years ago in a home office. That lasted less than 6 months. I needed a place - an "office" - and much like Travis, the collaboration of working with and bouncing ideas off of my office mates. I would have trouble working in a virtual company today no matter how cool of a trend it continues to be. Here at Tweedee "world headquarters", we have the freedom to set our own hours. We are very generous (by American standards) with vacation time. Yet we all come together at a specific place, at a somewhat specific time and make good video. How much cooler can that be?
Gregg Schieve, CEO and Founder Tweedee Media Inc.