Do We Really Work in Silos?

Do We Really Work in Silos?

‘Silos’ has been a bit of a buzzword for a while now, as we work increasingly isolated from one another.  Wouldn’t you just love to know who used the term ‘silos’ first and how on earth it caught on?

As we humans are experts at repeating what we hear from echo chambers, most of get the gist of what ‘working in silos’ means, understand the mentality of it and immediately think of it as a negative.  But what happens when we actually look past the cliché and give thought to the reality of working in a silo?

I imagine four full silos near a wheat field, with a business suit clad worker sitting at the top of each, on the phone or tapping away at a keyboard, covered in wheat dust.  I find it a very comical analogy and what’s even more comical is the likelihood that all four workers are likely communicating with each other using technology.

As we move away from open plan offices and working from home and the use of hot desks becoming very common, there are benefits to working in isolation, or working on islands, or working alone (not to mention working in silos).  Imagine having a work day with no interruptions, not having to deal with the shenanigans of those who are not so productive or listening to inappropriate non-work-related conversations, negative colleagues or the hygiene issues that come with sharing office spaces. 

This may not be suitable for some workplaces or some workers, but regardless of where we work or who we do or don’t work with, is there really anything wrong with working independently from each other as long as we still work collaboratively?  

More to the point, is ‘silos’ the right word for it?