I bumped into one of my colleagues, Dave, the other day in the office. I was surprised to see him there. "How can you work at home so much," I asked. He replied, "I am better off there. I have my own office, and much better kit."
Some of us have better technology at home than in the office. Corporations typically replace laptops once every two years, and choices are often limited. Personally, we can buy what we want when we want it. Smartphones make us even more mobile. Cloud computing promises to make technology continuous and device independent.
But do we still need to come to the office for meetings? Most of our meetings are conference calls placed through PCs. We can do presentations online and through video conferencing enjoy 'face to face' meetings with colleagues anywhere. Collaboration is just a mouse click rather than a floor away.
The same technology allows us to engage with customers. We can have more frequent meetings with clients in different parts of the world with almost the same image quality as if we were in front of them saving the time and expense of travel.
With avatarkinect we can have our avatars represent us in meetings responding to our voice and gestures as if we were physically present. By bringing telephony and software into the same platform we have revolutionized the way we work and play.
Recently we interviewed three candidates in three waves of interviews. Two of the waves were remote, but the feedback across all interviews was the same.
Does that mean we don't have to come to the office anymore? Technology will also revolutionize our physical space. White boards can be replaced by interactive walls where we can access videoconferencing, explore different ideas through Surface technology and deliver presentations to clients with experts from around the world.
In our office, the cubicles are often empty while the conference rooms are full. Already a shift is taking place. The physical office will still be important, but its role will definitely change.
I very much enjoyed this article. I think that WOTF (Workplace of the future) is defiantly an important and time worthy endeavor. I had a good laugh at the mention of using avatars in conferencing solutions (when videoconferencing is not appropriate/too expensive/etc.). I believe that should this initiative keep moving the way it has, that the stress and need for a more stable infrastructure becomes a much higher priority. Ultimately, its up to the people in change to determine how the money should be spent.
Thanks for your comment. I do think we will see a lot of changes in the way people work and play, even where they live. On our team in Microsoft we are in many different locations which gives us greater freedom in hiring talent and motivating people.
Thanks again for your comment,