What is the ‘Distributed Office’?

By Michael Sinnott, Director UCD Agile

Some of us worked in open plan offices, some in smaller rooms, some out behind counters, some in offices of our own.  They were all ‘the office’ – that place where you went to work with colleagues, doing the job, making plans, supporting others, meeting staff and students.

So ‘the office’ is not just the physical place where we work but the work and the people and the things we use, all the connections with others and the people we meet in the process.  All of that, and more, add up to working in ‘the office’.  COVID-19, as we know, changed this for many us.

Every ‘office’ has the following elements

The people
who we work with and the people we connect with

The ‘things’ we do
the tasks and actions that are our work

The ‘things’ in it
the practical things we require to make that work possible

The experiences
what happens through all the connecting, meeting and working with folks

The help to make it work
what we draw on from outside the office to make the work of the office possible.


Most of us now work in ‘offices’ distributed across the campus in Belfield, across spare rooms and kitchens and living rooms and garden sheds, across Dublin and the counties of Ireland, and countries beyond, in peace and quite or city rumble, full of people or all to ourselves.  We still go to the office every day but ‘go to’ and ‘the office’ have taken on new meanings for many of us.  (Some folks are, and have been, on campus, some folks always worked remotely).

Sometimes it can feel like we live with ‘Here are the rules, here are the tools… now you go figure… and be sure to get it right’.

Copy or create? As you shape your ‘distributed office’ do you need to create all the solutions yourself or can you copy the good ideas of others?

We will use the ‘distributed office’ logo when we are working on, or looking at, things that make working in the ‘distributed office’ possible and easier, especially when it is an idea you can be inspired by or copy. 
And if you gain from the blood, sweat and tears of others, be sure to share the good stuff you have created.