Working without an office

Because we’ve been in transition between buildings for over a year, it’s been a long time since I’ve had an office to work in. When New Fellowship Church needed my office to expand their use of the building, I moved into a corner of the modular building, then later I moved into our secretary’s office, perching on a stool at the treasurer’s desk. Now that we have moved out of our old location, neither Linda, our secretary, nor I have an office.

It’s not that I need an office all that much. Visits can be done without an office, and I can do my sermon preparation and other writing anywhere. With my church laptop computer, I can do my administrative work from home or Starbuck’s or anywhere else. My cell phone is always with me, so I’m not tethered to an office phone.

The truth is, however, that an office allows you to be more productive. Probably the hardest thing is not being in daily contact with Linda. We collaborate constantly, sharing information and working together to produce the bulletin, the newsletter, scheduling the building and church events, sharing news about the latest needs and demands of parish life. Although she’s available instantly on her cell phone, it’s just not the same when we’re not in the office together.

And I find that being office-less is disorienting. An office is a home base, a place where I can collect my thoughts and put things together for the day coming up. An office provides stability and security, like a fortress or a command post. Without it, I feel homeless and unsure of my surroundings. In addition, an office provides a place for my books and my papers. When I need something, I can put my hand on it. Without an office, I’m living out of boxes and continually searching for resources I rely on.

I’ll certainly be glad when my exile ends, and I’m back in my office. One thing’s for sure: when things are back to normal, I’ll have a new appreciation for my office surroundings.