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The Officeless Office

25/10/2010

Some may call what I am about to say will happen/could happen as bullshit science fiction. Some will call it an interesting futuristic possibility. None of this may even occur in our lifetimes. But some may indeed become a reality.

What is the function of an office? Currently its a place were bodies come and go to do ‘work’. This work differs depending upon the business being done, but it is essentially one of the following:

CLERICAL

RETAIL

CREATIVE

Note I have not included enterprises that are involved in transport or major infrastructure, agricultural or any task that requires intensive processing enterprises such as manufacturing or mining where the worker needs to be at the workplace.

So what I am talking about here is primarily those three tasks I have identified.

We are already seeing some clerical activity being done from home. There is a little reluctance still in this as supervisors are somewhat apprehensive of being at a physical distance from their employees.

Creative work is highly easy to be transferred to the home. The only fault in doing so is the lack of the ease for the creative to share ideas readily. It is extremely easier to get up and walk into a colleagues office with some work to show or to bounce ideas off.

Retail has already made it resurgence to embrace the electronic frontier with an example being AMAZON which is currently a multi billion dollar industry world wide. Already it is seeing a stronger than anticipated demand for electronic media which reduces the need for it to actually store or redirect physical mail. Of course this is ultimately due to the fact that it is in the book industry. But I see a similar business niche already beginning with organisations such as NETFLIX in the movie/dvd industry and already the music industry has been radically shaken.

Now technology will one day destroy these concerns.

http://feedroom.businessweek.com/index.jsp?fr_story=21ecd6d10db0b7531a4d90716ef507e4965cadb9

I foresee technology that allows a worker to not only conduct their tasks from home, but for a supervisor to conduct real time supervision; also from home.

I foresee technology that will allow wall size hi definition TV units to be used like an iPhone with a touch type way to manipulate multiple applications. Some of these will allow you to virtually knock on the door of a colleague where you can sit and discuss work issues as readily as we do now.

I foresee the same technology allowing multi conferencing from multiple locations in real-time and in hi definition and without the current lag time or technologically hurdles.

I foresee receptionists being able to conduct the role of reception from home either greeting virtual visitors to an enterprise virtually or even greeting physical visitors to an enterprise also virtually.

Now do not get me wrong. I am not saying that the need for physical contact or meeting will be wiped out overnight or even think it can be wiped out altogether, but what I foresee is a huge reduction or the need to physically travel. At least in clerical type tasks including many management tasks. And quite possible in many creative type tasks.

There will always be a need for some tasks to require physical meeting. You can not make a TV show or a movie for example without a physical meeting of actors and technical crew. However an advertiser can pitch and demonstrate or send creative work to anyone in the world to any number of people in the world.

Retail is an industry that will always have a need for physical stores. People like to try on clothes or physically manipulate goods for example. But not all goods need to be purchased in this way. It is possible to shop for groceries for example without the need to physically walk into a supermarket. Eventually this will extend to even a visit to the butcher, or even a direct interaction with the farmer themselves for fruits and vegetables as well. And again, this could be anywhere in the world depending on the longevity of the produce and their ability to distribute that product to the door of the purchaser or at least a store front where the purchaser can pick up the goods.

We have heard about the ability to conduct medical analysis or even have specialists from around the world assist in operations or even one day remotely conduct them!

Now all of this is very much fiction. And you will need a lot faster bandwidth to conduct some of what I am saying will one day be possible. But what will this mean to the way we currently live and work?

For many, travel to and from a workplace will be unnecessary. That means fewer cars on the road and much less congested public transport. That in and of itself will mean fewer emissions! But houses will need to be electrically phased to cope with the increase in electronic equipment usage.

For some it will mean officeless offices. Literally. The entire business can be conducted and managed electronically and virtually including interaction with other businesses.

Now you will have to do a lot of things that we currently do not do differently. For example the cost of working from home will have to be taken up by the employer for example right down to the last watt of power used, but that is a technical hurdle: some kind of metering system, but it is not impossible to do even now. The home user will and should be able to switch to private and business use with a flick of a switch. The savings is still to the business owner! Rent for example will be a thing of the past for many businesses.

Of course with a reduction of people being in the business district, many businesses that cater to those numbers will also go. There will not be a need for sushi bars if those that normally order it are at home.

All of this is not in the world of fiction and it has nothing to do with any future yet undesigned type of new application. It is all current ideas at a much larger scale than with current technologies.

Now. Imagine what will happen with NEW TECHNOLOGIES and NEW ways to do things.

The NBN will change the face of the way things are done and how work is done. It is not just for downloading and uploading stuff. This will happen and businesses slow to catch on will die and those who can see a small chink in a firms armour will not need to be a large business to make that small chink a large one.

People will change or be changed. And that is something that will defy any form of cost analysis Mr Turnbull.

You can bet your iPad on that big fella.

A. Ghebranious      2010        All Rights Reserved

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2 Comments
  1. Matthew Ross permalink

    em bring the NBN yes yes yes she has until the 11th to decide if she takes the job

  2. A genuinely excellent publish by you my friend. I’ve bookmarked this page and will occur back following several days to examine for any new posts which you make.

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