The daily grind of getting up, commuting to the office and spending every day enclosed by four walls is becoming a thing of the past. Today, instead of going to the office, the office comes to you.
It is, of course, all about technology, and the technology is all about a new era where virtual networks collide with real networks housed in the workplace.
Using software as a service (SaaS), solutions are delivered from remote data centres to portable devices that have limitations in the processing power, storage capacity and battery life. With cloud computing used through web browsers anywhere, anyplace, anytime, files are accessed and normal ‘office’ work carried out on the train, in a coffee shop, or anywhere you like.
Meanwhile, the person on the move uses scheduling software like Rendezvous Workspace to book meeting rooms, hoteling and hot desking, car parks, catering, video conferencing, telepresence and AV – all from potentially anywhere in the world.
Five years ago, no one had heard of social networks. Now, they are part of everyday life, not just for pleasure, but in business too. One large organisation, using web discussion forums rather than email to ask questions within a 100,000-plus global workforce, found that some of the most useful responses came from unknown respondents – far more productive than asking similar questions of a small workforce bound by the reality of traditional office space.
In the coming decade, the line between virtual and real workspace will become ever more blurred. Getting people to work effectively together will be key to success. Productivity of people will drive change. With mobile and social media booming, it has become so easy to connect to the right people, whether for work-related issues or through advertising. And for the new generation growing up in the digital era, that can only lead to improved productivity.