Okay, not really – We are living out of a van and there will be many rivers, but the whole thing is more organized than Chris Farley’s epic portrayal of the motivational speaker Matt Foley.
My wife, Jesse, and I, after several years of living and working in Denver, have decided to take a sabbatical before moving closer to our families in Michigan. We’ve been working on our “home” for the past year – a 1993 Volkswagen Eurovan Westfalia popup camper van named Gerty. We’ve brought her mechanics into the right decade, built a kitchen, and outfitted her with solar and auxiliary battery power to make her a true mobile live/work station. The goal is to live, explore, and occasionally work out of Gerty for the next few months while travelling all over the US and Canada. We are thrilled to be unplugged and to explore uninhibited by deadlines, calendar appointments, and mind-numbing meetings.
Having said that, this is also an exercise in exploring the outer limits of the future of work and mobility. I’ll be field testing new and innovative collaboration technologies to see how “mobile first” they really are. I’ll be reporting on the best practices for working from the road, how to best attain connectivity, what technology is working and which isn’t, and all the challenges I find along the way.
What’s the point, you might ask? Well, admittedly this isn’t the most practical exercise, for I don’t expect companies to line up to hire employees who live out of their van. However, the future of work is real and it’s already happening. It’s a melding of work and personal life. It’s working anywhere you are with whatever device you have on you. It’s flexibility, efficiency, higher productivity, and anything but lazy. My father-in-law, the late great Mike Fezzey, was once asked what his workplace philosophy was, and he said: “Allow the workplace to be an extension, not an interruption of our employees’ lives.” This idea could not be more relevant today. Employees churn out their best work when they are given the trust to work with a flexible schedule.
Stay tuned – it should be quite the adventure.