Across the western world more and more people are working from home who are engaged in industry and commerce where working from home is possible with technological assistances.
Some of these scenarios involve lawyers, accountants, architects, draftsmen and a whole lot of others. Many lawyers today in corporate law firms need to find a place of work where they can do their legal research through the Internet without the constant disruptions as inevitably occurs in the work place office. Naturally, client interviews and court appearance days are very different where their presence is required.
Accountants too have the ability to work at home. Entire files can be downloaded from the Internet and then when the accounting tasks completed, uploaded back to the client. Accountancy is one area where increasingly, face to face meetings can be put to one side after initial such encounters have sorted out the process of account books.
When it comes to working from home, architects are in a world of their own as are draftsmen, as are an increasing number of some engineers. So to a whole range of other industry and commerce working people. Obviously it is not the same for say, school teachers, doctors and medical workers, but with technology, increasingly university lecturers are able to engage in home office duties with their 'on-line' tertiary courses.
The CEO of a corporation it seems can now also work from home. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer who recently gave birth to a baby boy will be working from home, and it makes good sense. In my experience, it's becoming increasingly common for senior corporate personnel to avoid the office and get serious company work completed under their belt (as it were) and the one place it can be done is at home.
Missionaries and Missions
All this is nothing new for missionaries and missions whose personnel have been working from home for as long as Christian history. The home office is as common place in mission work as is the kitchen table to kitchens.
The focus on advantages for the mission home office is both financial and beneficiary to the missionaries' activities. In any new mission situation, it is often a matter of cost saving in the initial set up stages and as soon as mission service begins, people come to the mission house and are are obviously welcomed.
Moreover many in the community pull together and the mission house becomes not only an office, but a community centre where the needs of many people are met. Rather than moving the office and community centre elsewhere, it often becomes more advantageous to extend the building on site, again due to saving money and convenience.
Ministers too have had their office in their homes. It is still not common place for Ministers to have a separate office other than in the Rectory or the Manse. Generations after generations of parishioners know where to find the Rector or the Minister and to relocate the office in many cases would be an afront to common sense.
Penetcostal pastors are known for their office in the church building or some other office space other than home, but in recent years, many have found that they like corporate CEO's and lawyers, need to find a physical place which is well away from the church and the endless rush of people. The home office is the obvious and in increasingly being utilised.
Home Office and Public Space
Even the separate office work desk is being reappraised and being replaced with bench space (all beautifully designed). (www.news.com.au)
Moreover, there is another dual option that is happening across the business world. It is associated with the upmarket coffee shop and other such meeting places, and herein lies the connection between office and meeting.
There are innumerable corporate and small business operators who prefer to work from home offices and these are their options which are put into practise every day -
Client meetings - the coffee shop (generally nearby the client)
City office space - rent an office space for 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours ….
Office work - the home office
Office technology - iphone, ipad, mini computer, whatever
This is where the home office and the public space meets. It's all the go today. Go to any shopping centre where there is a coffee shop with WIFI and you'll find the tables occupied with people going about their daily 'business' in this manner.
Moreover, ministry has cottoned onto this as well. It's today's meeting place for ministry. There was a time when the work office was the agenda. In many instances, that sounds like so old hat, so 20th century that its by passed on both business and ministry.
Enjoy your coffee!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html