Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for modern teams. I write about productivity, #NoOffice, #iPadOnly and I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do.

There is no office…


I’m a big fan of the movie Matrix. It has quite a few memorable scenes. One of the best is when a boy is “bending” the spoon. In this article I’d like to explain how this scene has everything to do with how we get things done every single day:

There is no office…

Try to realize the truth: there is no spoon.

In this scene the boy is telling Neo, the main character, that bending a spoon is impossible… but as they are in the Matrix, the truth is that there is no spoon, and the only thing they can bend is themselves… not the spoon.

There is no office… there is only work that needs to get done!

It’s so funny to me that the modern pre-requisite of getting job done is the office. It’s like there is an equation between the two: work = office!

Maybe, but if you think about, why would you need an office? Here are a few reasons:

Because every “serious company” needs an office.

If we don’t have an office, we won’t be perceived as “serious”. We wouldn’t otherwise consider ourselves serious… Seriously?

- Because we need a place to work.

Really? You can’t write documents on a laptop at home? You can’t send and receive emails on your iPhone while having a walk in the park? You can’t design, code or do any other work that a modern knowledge worker does on a computing device anywhere? You really need to commute to work in a crowded subway train (or better yet: in a car stuck in a traffic jam) for almost an hour to be able to get to a computer?… and work?

- Because we need to collaborate.

Now that’s interesting. Haven’t you heard of Slack, Nozbe, Google Docs.. or any other collaborative software that makes the collaboration even more efficient than sitting next to each other in an “open space” and pretend like you are collaborating when indeed you’re just disturbing one another?

- Because we need to have meetings.

First off, cut down the amount of meetings! You don’t need that many. Meetings are toxic. And when you do, use Skype, FaceTime or any other audio and video conferencing software. These technologies are fast, free and work on any device. And are effective.

- Because we need to meet our clients.

Do you really invite your clients to your office? How often? My company’s office is — actually when I think about it, my company’s “other” offices are our mobile apps on the App Store and Google Play Store. And social media networks like [Facebook][fn] and Twitter. I meet my clients all of the time. Just not in the office. And it’s not like they ever wanted to go to my office anyway…

- Because every other company of our size has an office.

Are you sure now? We’re a company of 24 and we don’t have an office. MySQL had more than 500 employees working remotely without an office… and besides that, doing something just because someone else is also doing that is a lame argument. Get a life and decide why YOUR company really needs an office.

Let me repeat again:

It’s not about the office…

…it’s about the work that needs to be done!

That’s why I encourage you to question why you really need that office. Does “having an office” make you a better company? Helps you get things done better? Improves quality of your team members’ lives? Helps you be more efficient? Helps you get the best talent you can afford?

Remember that:

Work is not a place to go. It’s a thing that you do.

Now it’s your time to realize the truth:

It’s not the office that gets the work done. It’s only yourself.

There is no office.