Seems a simple question, doesn’t it? Where do you work?

And yet as we sit on the edge of what we are being told as being the beginnings of seismic shifts in patterns of how we work, my hunch is that the responses to that question are changing, will continue to change, and for many of us will get increasingly complicated to formulate.

My hunch is that in the past people would have talked about a company “I work for Ford” or an industry “I work in printing” or maybe a specific geographic location “I work in London”.

My hunch also is that in the future the answers will spread to include less specific places (“Home”, “an office”), systems (“Slack”) and the more emotional or psychological (“in my team”).

I did a little experiment. A completely unscientific one, but interesting none the less. I asked my network across LinkedIn and Twitter to answer that question. Here’s what they came back with:

 

Types of Response

So let’s look at that in a bit more detail…

“Hard to classify” – some because they were deep and profound – “Everywhere”, some because they were multi-dimensional – “On canvas…on paper…on location.”, and some because they might have been taking the piss – “In your dreams”.

The general geographic split into “Home”, “an office” and “Anywhere”.

Specific geography were mostly names of cities.

The systems mentioned were mostly about being generally being tied to a computer, although one person mentioned the project management service Asana.

A few people mentioned their organisations by name; a handful talked about sector.

A couple sort of talked about teams, but mostly in terms of isolation – “It’s just me” and “In my head and the heads of others”.

You’ll be looking for some great insight now, won’t you?

Well, if there is one, it’s this. Don’t assume that the responses to what seems like a simple question will be simple to understand. Where we work is a complex concept, and getting more so.

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