With footloose departments in Amsterdam and Stockholm, a ‘real’ office in Brussels and an possible extension in Singapore, FoAM is an interesting example of the next generation office. However, FoAM already exists for ten year, and could therefore be considered as an early experiment in nomadic office styles. FoAM is based on networks between like-minded people. The idea when setting up FoAM was to work on a flexible basis without too much overhead. Internal communication used to be quite a struggle over the past ten years as working in the cloud is only possible since a couple of years.
Now the office has grown to twelve official core members, accompanied by temporary team members. This construction as a trans-disciplinary, horizontal and distributed organization remains being one of the difficult aspects, as one of FoAM’s members explains. Especially when it comes to clear internal policy and external communication. The boundaries between the core members and the organization are diffuse — each member has his or her personal network on a local, regional or global scale, ranging from local friends and acquaintances to the world economic board. The office in the cloud has its advantages. It’s strong altogether and very allround in all its dynamics, not only from a professional but also from a locative aspect. FoAM has, for instance, the possibility to hook up with all sorts of networks in different parts of the world.
There are some points, however, that are not clear yet, as explained in response to my article. From these insights we can possibly learn when starting an office in the cloud. How to keep budgets and finances clear? And scale? After its recent expansion, FoAM is seriously looking for a scalable tool to work in the cloud. With five people you’ll have no problem in the cloud, but with twelve people the organization gets truly difficult. Any tips are welcome!