Work from home, the future of the office.

The reality of the office of tomorrow (continuing my series) is that the office of tomorrow may not be in a building. The reality of offices has moved to huddle rooms and cubes. More and more companies are moving to the open or sometimes called hoteling concept. A hotel is where your device plugs into whatever cube you sit on that day. Some companies end up with reservation systems (literally a calendar connected to the room, office, or cube). One of the things that most organizations don’t do is the printer alignment. That would be an email sent to you after you reserve a spot and sit down, which would automatically map the nearest printer to your computer. Someday that will happen but not so far.

But…the reality of the office of tomorrow may sit in your home today.  Now in many cases people don’t have offices at home. The computer sits on the dining room table or in the corner of the living room. The office of tomorrow can be anywhere. You don’t have to be in a specific place. If you have a wonderful screen porch you can work there. Or on your back porch. You are free to work wherever you want to. Other than the occasional all0hands or the occasional customer meeting, for the most part, you work from home. It means you don’t have to compute to the office. Several studies have shown that work from home professionals tend to spend more time (9-10 hours per day) working.

They also have a much higher job satisfaction rating. But of course, there is a downside to the work from the home world. One of the value propositions of working for a company is going to the office and being able to talk to people. I had a job for many years where if I wasn’t onsite with the customer I was home. The kids were in school, and my wife was in school. There were many days when it was just me at home. It got lonely sometimes.

The other side of the organizational value of supporting work from home workers is that you have a smaller requirement overall for office space. That reduces the cost per employee and allows for other benefits for at-home workers. It should be noted that not all jobs should or can be done by work at home professionals. Some jobs still require the actual human being be there.