Skip to main content

Workplace Trends: The Granny Pod

With an estimated 8,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 each day, their children face the future challenge of where to put them.

Now a Virginia company has come up with a brick and mortar solution called "The Granny Pod," which -- let's face it -- could also be called "Grandma and Grandpa's future home office," since even the oldest Baby Boomers probably won't be retiring anytime soon. Hey, it's hard to save for retirement* when you had to have those pricey tickets to The Eagles' fourth "Final Farewell Tour," and the vacation home you can't sell in this market was a necessary purchase to host the getaway weekends you put on the credit card to impress annoying people who own even bigger vacation homes. You only live once, and keeping up with the Joneses had you jonesing for a second mortgage back in the day because you never wanted to live like your parents did, holding down a stable-but-boring job for 40 years where a single salary managed to cover all the bills and finance a small home. You've never had a glass candy jar in your living room boasting the full rainbow of sugar-coated gumdrops, and your wardrobe doesn't speak London Fog. No sir-ee, you're the renegade who has it made, in a Styx kind of way. Retirement is for old people, not for you. I feel you, Baby Boomers.

But back to the "granny pod" -- a.k.a. "medical cottage," I think we can all agree "Granny Pod" is more marketable -- a $125,000 four-walled, Internet-enabled, 12' x 24' house that can be plunked down in your adult child's backyard right next to your grandchild's Little Tykes play house. It comes with monitoring cameras to monitor you floor to ankle, which theoretically gives you some privacy but in reality could still make you feel like you're living a real-life Truman Show. What is Dad doing in there!? I can't see his feet, he must be napping. Could you go check on him?

I see pros and cons here. On the one hand, your kids can make sure you haven't fallen down and can't get back up, which carries obvious benefits, and you get to be close to family. On the other hand, who wants to be video monitored constantly like that? I, for one, would tell my kids that no, Gen X Grandma doesn't play that way, and you're creeping me out by trying to sell me on a "virtual companion" that reminds me to take my medicine and always wants to play cards with me. Somehow, I can't see the typical, status-conscious Baby Boomer saying, "Come to my 12' x 24' vinyl siding house in my 40-year-old son's overgrown, toy-strewn backyard for dinner, and please bring the chardonnay!"

But who knows? The Granny Pod could be just what the gerontologist ordered. Work-wise, will the Granny Pod enable the productivity of elderly, white-collar Baby Boomers who have been subject in this post to blatant, broad-brush stereotyping? It just might, and it will be interesting to see if the Granny Pod shapes up as a cost-efficient lifestyle choice instead of a golden years life sentence. It's miles ahead of the average nursing home, and inches away from your kid's doorstep. Tell the grand kids to wait until 5:30 p.m. to knock on Grandpa's backyard door, though, because he's working this afternoon. And could you guys play in the front yard instead so you don't disturb Grandpa while he's working? Thanks.

The jig is up, the news is out, they finally found you, doing some consulting work as an independent contractor at age 81 in your kid's backyard. Make sure to stock up on cashews instead of gumdrops for the protein boost you'll need to make it through that 3 p.m. client call.

* Post-Great Recession stock portfolios vary, and are subject to final review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…