Is The Office-Less Business Norm For The Future?

The Nation, Bangkok, Thailand / Asia News Network

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Advancing technology has enabled many women in business to work at home at least part time. While this flexibilty has been great for some, it has also been isolating for others who need that sense of camaraderie from an office environment. So what does the future hold for the traditional office space? This editorial takes a look at some possibilities.

Asia News Network

What can PayPal, decent notebooks and ever-improving cloud computing give us? According to experts, business companies whose staff don’t need to ever actually meet.

Such companies may be already taking shape but will likely be the norm of future business enterprises. Due to perceived benefits, such as the advantage of hiring the best people wherever they are, it seems like a matter of “when” rather than “if”.

According to the BBC, a lot of specialists have collaborated on a design for state-of-the-art transportation pods which limit the need for having to actually meet physically. It was a one-off project, of course, but if complex, futuristic machines can be worked out by people on their own and hooked up only on cyberspace, less complex undertakings should not be a problem.

Advancing technology has enabled many to work at home. Companies that exist primarily or largely online take the work-at-home concept a huge step forward. Everyone will benefit, except, of course, what the BBC calls “really, extremely extroverted” employees who enjoy pub outing with colleagues after working hours.

That aside, the advantages of Internet-administered business companies are obvious. The employers’ reach for talent will no longer be geographically limited. The same goes for the workers who don’t want to move or relocate. Overheads can go down or be effectively controlled. Entrepreneurs can ignore the issue of parking when thinking of creating an office. The new business mentality will help improve the effectiveness and quality of outsourcing as well.

Oliver Risse, chief executive of Floatility, a start-up developing a ride-sharing service for three-wheeled electric scooters, told the BBC his company relies on the cloud to pair technical expertise in Germany with attractive, cost-efficient labour in Indonesia. The lightweight polymers used for the scooters are made in Germany while the scooters themselves are made in Indonesia. Additionally, technical development takes place in Singapore and some activities happen in Vienna. It’s the Internet speeds, which are getting faster and faster everywhere, that make such expansive collaboration possible, he said. DropBox is used for file storage and Google Docs and AutoDesk for productive communication and design.

Employers who want their staff to work more and talk less may not get that from the new business concept and need to be reminded that the fast-developing technology is helping people who have problems with loneliness as well. The “broadcasting” functions of the social media have just been in an infantile stage. So is the technology to make video screens out of flat surfaces. In the near future, one’s apartment could look like a virtual office, with activity by life-sized colleagues happening around him or her. “Meetings” would still happen, although not as we know it nowadays.

It should be fun in work in Bangkok and talk real-time to a colleague in Paris. But besides such socializing, tutorials, skill training and sharing of knowledge are what everyone stands to gain from the new form of business.

While office-less companies are foreseeable, it’s hard to foretell what will evolve from there. But one thing is clear; globalization is no longer about getting from one point to another quickly or learning exotic things very quickly. It’s blending knowledge, plus improving it, utilizing it, sharing it and giving birth to new goals and ambitions.

The new business concept will not only change those “atop” the pyramid, but all down the line. Most importantly, collaboration that was impossible just a few years ago should encourage humans to aim higher and higher, for the good of their own race.

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