The Future of the Business Office
Remember when working 9 to 5 in a cubicle was desirable? Probably not anymore… For a number of years now, an increasing number of businesses and individual professionals are choosing to become more mobile. And that trend is likely to continue as technology keeps progressing and the remote work force becomes more proliferated.
While this trend represents a number of business challenges, it also carries a whole array of benefits such as increased employee productivity and creativity while reducing overhead. But what does that mean for the business office as a space? Let’s look at some current technologies already in use that will help answer that question.
Onsite Hybrid Work Environments
In the antiquated workplace, the worker constantly shuffles between their cubicle and the conference room for meetings. In recent years, more companies have been trading up to prove gathering areas where team members can collaborate or sit down and work from a laptop PC or other mobile device. Instead of the dreaded cubicle, companies are opting to implement workstations in conjunction with the gathering spaces to foster more openness among staff.
In addition to applications such as Skype opening up the opportunity for VoIP calling and video conferencing from your desk, some companies are deploying what is known as Telepresence Technology. The technology is implemented in a workstation area where VoIP and videoconferencing provides workers with a face-to-face connection with other offices around the globe. This creates an ongoing presence for companies while significantly cutting back on travel costs. While telepresence products are still pretty expensive, they are becoming more popular and will undoubtedly experience cost reductions.
The inception of cloud computing has radically changed the business office and will continue to change it for the future. With cloud platforms such as cloud computing over Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and remote access to files and documents, many enterprises are not thinking twice about hiring talent that resides in different parts of the world. By using cloud collaboration more office tasks are getting accomplished in less time and at a reduced budget because of cutting costs of travel and associated expenses..
Technologies such as Skype, video cameras, SMS, social networking sites, and iPhones; that are oriented toward the consumer, are now being integrated into the daily workflow of the business office. Consumer-oriented technology is fostering a significant shift in the actual office setup and encouraging new work styles along with a new perspective on the concept of work.
While the past workplace involved a desk, computer, chair, and clock along with necessary office accessories, the new business office can reside anywhere, as long as you have a computer (or a mobile device powerful enough) and an internet connection.
When you think about it, the future business office all started with the consumer and within the home environment of employees and remote workers instead of at the enterprise level. All of it leads to a future business office environment based on a concept known as Flex Work.
Flex work, as the name suggests, allows workers to have a flexible work schedule which involves a time block as a primary schedule with the remaining hours worked at the discretion of the staff member from anywhere. Sounds good, right? In fact, many companies are realizing that by offering Flex Work they are able to attract the very best candidates, not to mention all the cost savings, we keep mentioning.
In conclusion, given all of the above, when talking to your grown up child at one point in the future, you just may be saying stuff like ‘You kids got it easy! When I was your age, I had to come to the office every day! In a suit, yes pants and all, wearing a tie!’.