The Virtual Office: Eight Things You'll Find Missing in the Workplace Five Years from Now
September 26, 2012
By Allison Boccamazzo
, TMCnet Web Editor
Think about it. You constantly see those online ads pop up promoting working from home and you’re always hearing some tale about the newest technological development. Together, this creates a heavy mixture leading to the inevitable transformation of the office going virtual altogether. As technology continues to advance, so do we, and in that process, some highly beloved (and shocking) office trends are dissipating.
There’s a few solid reasons for this slow but sure disappearance. Consider the younger generations who are filling them up, for starters. This Business Insider article makes a very valid point that almost every time someone needs to use a fax machine or even a copier, they need help. “Why?” they ask. “Because most young workers have only used a fax machine two or three times in their lifetime.”
Too bad not every youngster is as agile as depicted in 1991’s Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, a movie featuring a teenaged Christina Applegate who works in a prestigious fashion office to support her four siblings during the summer after their babysitter “takes a vacation.” With the parents away, apparently, the eldest teen will go straight to working full time in a highly competitive industry. She apparently knows how to do anything and everything work-related all at once.
This, however, is unfortunately not a reality – or maybe it was back in 1991.
Image via Shutterstock
Popular social connection site for working professionals, LinkedIn (News - Alert), asked more than 7,000 global professionals spanning 10 countries what they thought would be history by 2017. Today, to address this combination of younger, more inexperienced workers, the exponential growth in the virtual working trend and the ever-changing nature of technological advancements, here are eight things we may not see five years from now.
Okay, this one’s pretty self-explanatory; with almost the entirety of the nation’s business being conducted via computers, it seems needless to manually copy documents when you can simply click a button and e-mail it to yourself or use a cloud-based synchronization software such as DropBox. If you think you can’t find the image elsewhere (who are we kidding?) you apparently haven’t been living long enough in this digital age, where within a few short minutes, you’ll most likely find exactly what you’re looking for. You may, however, be surprised to know that this was ranked the lowest of the bunch, with only 13 percent saying that these are disappearing.
But I – we – love business cards! You can make them fancy and sophisticated and hand them out to business associates and those you meet. How could it be that 15 percent of these business professionals expect these to be swept under the rug by 2017? That can be answered in two simple yet strong words: social media.
This one doesn’t seem so self-explanatory, but in the world of hustling up the corporate ladder and impressing CEOS, office design has taken on a distinctly new and innovative priority – not to mention that if you’re working from home, you technically don’t have an office door. Surprisingly, 16 percent of those polled expect office doors to eventually be a thing of the past, and they’re apparently not far off. Tons of companies are embracing this new “no door” design. Take Springfield, M.A.-based The Creative Strategy Agency, a digital and media strategy company that was recently highlighted in Fend Interiors. The company maintains that closed doors are not needed to promote creative thinking and shape a positive working environment.
As individuals increasingly turn to pulling up a chair at home for a hard day’s work, traditional cubicles are vanishing. Take the call center industry, for example, where hundreds of thousands of satisfied virtual call center agents have ditched that dreary box and now enjoy working within the comfort of their own home. It makes sense why almost one-fifth of those polled predict this one will soon be a goner.
This is due in large part to virtual workers and the rise of more modernized, less business-friendly attire. When more individuals choose to work from home, not only will dust collect in cubicles, but there’s no longer an official dress code. Many companies are also now considering or have already implemented a more flexible dress code to reflect their unique and distinct company culture. There may even be more to it than we see. Joanne Pittman recently wrote for Live Magazine claiming that “one of the leading issues that we face today when meeting with our corporate clientele is an overwhelming frustration regarding dress codes in the workplace.” Click here to read this interesting article in full.
This can be pretty easily summed up in a nice, four-letter saying: bring your own device (BYOD). Individuals are increasingly gaining access to smart devices, and accordingly, can find them more convenient than the equipment provided to them by their company. This trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all either, as over one-third of business pro’s claim desktop comps are going to be long gone in five years.
Once again, a trend tightly related to the increase in virtual workers. When you’re working from home, traditional office hours inevitably don’t apply. Almost 60 percent of those surveyed agreed, saying the typical 9-5 will soon become an old industry standard.
So…do we even need to explain this one? Almost 80 percent of those surveyed don’t think we do. Tape recorders have long been a thing of the past, but apparently, they still must be out there and in use, but perhaps not for much longer.
Click here to see all 13 of these disappearing business trends as presented by LinkedIn and Business Insider.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Austin 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey