Years ago I usually commented, in response to questions on the future of telework, something like this:
Think of telework and telecommuting as the tide rolling in rather than a sudden tsunami. Telework will gradually increase in acceptance and variety as the enabling technology improves and as our business norms progress past those of the nineteenth century.
That’s pretty much how it was from the 1970s through to the early-2000s, punctuated by occasional natural disasters that acted to ratchet up the acceptance rate while the aftereffects lasted. But since then matters have picked up a tad.
One of the persistent holdouts against telework were Japanese firms. Japanese business culture demanded that all managerial and professional employees and support staff collocate daily in company facilities. There were also social pressures enforcing the leave home and work elsewhere model. Often, when telework was allowed it was for the salarymen on “vacation”. That is, the salarymen would take their families to a resort where there were office facilities so that they could keep working while the other family members took advantage of the resort facilities.
The major earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011 changed all that. Continue reading The Infotsunami