The 30,000-Foot View

By Joe McKendrick

McKendrick & Associates home page

Office of the Future Passed

OfficeTeam recently issued a report on the "Office of the Future, circa 2020," predicting that it will be increasingly mobile and flexible as companies swiftly assemble the resources necessary to meet changing business needs.

Among the other findings in the survey of business and technology executives:

  • 87 percent of respondents believe that telecommuting will increase in the coming decade.
    We're seeing this already, across the job spectrum. More likely is a mix of telecommuting and on-site work.

  • 42 percent believe employees will be working more hours -- because if you are always connected, you can't easily get away from work. Not only that, 86 percent of respondents believe that employees will be expected to stay more connected with the office while on vacation.
    Talk abouit hyper-connectitvity! Have you ever tried to work on a laptop while on the beach? The sun washes out the screen, and sand is everywhere.

Looking nostalgically back to my work with the Administrative Management Society in the mid to late 1980s, we published a series of books and research studies on "The Office of the Future," which at that point meant the year 2000. We had a lot of hits and misses with that series.

  • Partial Hit: We predicted a much more diverse workforce; that increasing numbers of women and minorities will attain professional and managerial ranks in the 21st century corporation. We've made progress; but there's still much work to be done.

  • Miss: "The paperless office." But with imaging and workflow systems, there's definitely less paper flying around.

  • Hit: More integration between disparate systems. Mainframes will talk with Unix systems. Web services and SOA are making this a reality.

  • Hit, but with qualification: We predicted more internationalization of IT operations. It has happened, but not in ways that make everybody happy.

  • Missed completely, not even contemplated: The rise of open source software.

Check out more of Joe's Previous 30,000-Foot Views