We had a pretty intense morning last Thursday in Melbourne at the Business Chicks brekky. Sir Bob Geldof was our speaker and he crafted his stories with such passion and conviction that anyone who happened to accidentally clink their fork against their coffee cup was heard, such was the silence and attention he commanded.
I spent most of his talk in tears as he lifted the lid on what he’d seen over the last few decades in poverty-stricken Africa. I agree that what’s going on in Africa is our generation’s version of Nazi Germany ie humanity knew about what was happening (to an extent) and yet didn’t take action, or didn’t know what to do to avoid/lessen the atrocities. Geldof spoke of the work he’s spearheaded through Live Aid, and Band Aid, and various other initiatives that have seen him catalyse almost $200 million worth of funding into Africa to ease poverty. He spoke about where he sees the solutions lying, and surprise surprise, it’s women and girls, as we all know. It’s educating women and girls and empowering them to be part of the solution.
Geldof is also a successful businessman and touched briefly on a few of his ventures. I was interested to learn that, just like Richard Branson, Geldof doesn’t have an office. He said he works from his kitchen bench each day.
I’ve toyed with the idea of working from home a little bit (I’m currently in our city office every day) but have never fully gotten my head around it. We did an office refurb in my last business which resulted in me and my business partner having our own individual offices, separated from the team. She loved it. I hated it.
Half the fun of going to work for me is being involved in the office’s activities. Feeding off the energy, having a joke with my colleagues, being able to ask a question then and there without having to set a meeting – these are all reasons I choose to go to an office each day. And open plan works for my leadership style.
However, after hearing Geldof and Branson speak at Business Chicks, I’m questioning the logic of going into the office every single day. Think of the time they save commuting each day, think of the uninterrupted blocks of time where they’re free to focus on the important stuff, think of the perspective they must achieve looking at their businesses from afar.
Curious to hear from you as to what works best for you, particularly if you’re a leader of a team (and not working by yourself at home).