Long commutes and being in an office at a certain time with limited flexibility is gradually becoming a thing of the past.
Workplace mobility and flexibility are becoming attractive features in employee recruitment and retention, whether that be flexible working hours or working from home. Accoring to VMware, 29% of the global workforce is made up of anytime, anywhere information workers – those who use three or more devices, work from multiple locations, and use many apps. This number has risen from 23% of the global workforce in 2011 and will continue to rise, as we will see 905 million tablets in use for work and home globally by 2017.
So, it’s clear a new generation of workers is creating this new culture, but what will the anywhere office look like?
The anywhere office will be completely untethered with a consistent user experience
Over the past several years, the proliferation of mobile devices has allowed users to move outside the constraints of the corporate network.
As mobility evolves, it will get easier for users to integrate all of their favorite productivity tools so as to become even more effective – whether they’re at their desks or on the road. Employees will demand a consistent user experience across all their devices.
Workers, not IT, will dictate application choices
With the rise in Shadow IT and BYOA, it’s clear that employees will pick and choose any application that they think will help them in their role, whether it’s approved corporately or not.
The savvy employers will harness the collective wisdom of a tech-savvy workforce use them as the best way to surface best-of-breed tools.
Work will abandon email in favour of collaborative platforms
The move toward mobility allows distributed workforces to assemble a virtual office. I see this on a daily basis: interactions happen inside SIPCOM across multiple time zones, languages and cultures. Essentially, our work continues around the clock.
Moving forward, I expect to see a shift from email to more collaborative tools such as Huddle and Yammer, which create subject communities and encourage group interaction.
Email, when you think about it, isn’t all that much different from the interoffice memos of yore. But in a world where offices are virtualized, you really need instant, continuous, and unbroken interaction to connect the minds of knowledge workers in each time zone.
Will the physical office disappear?
In thinking about the workplace of the future, the concept of the office itself will ever go away – it will just continue to evolve across geography, time zones and cultures. Human interaction, after all, will always be necessary. And technology will increasingly play the role of the enabler: helping increase efficiency and interaction to ensure continuous workflow around the world and around the clock.