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The Office Of Tomorrow Essay

3694 words - 15 pages

In an increasing number of companies, traditional office space is giving way to community areas and empty chairs as employees work from home, from their cars or from virtually anywhere. Advanced technologies and progressive HR strategies make these alternative offices possible.Imagine it's 2 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon. Inside the dining room of many nationwide offices, Joe Smith, manager of HR, is downing a sandwich and soda while wading through phone and E-mail messages. In front of him is a computer--equipped with a fax-modem--is plugged into a special port on the dining table. The contents of his briefcase are spread on the table. As he sifts through a stack of paperwork and types responses into the computer, he periodically picks up a cordless phone and places a call to a colleague or associate. As he talks, he sometimes wanders across the room.To be sure, this isn't your ordinary corporate environment. Smith doesn't have a permanent desk or workspace, nor his own telephone. When he enters the ad agency's building, he checks out a portable Macintosh computer and a cordless phone and heads off to whatever nook or cranny he chooses. It might be the company library, or a common area under a bright window. It could even be the dining room or Student Union, which houses punching bags, televisions and a pool table. Wherever he goes, a network forwards mail and phone pages to him and a computer routes calls, faxes and E-mail messages to his assigned extension. He simply logs onto the firm's computer system and accesses his security-protected files.He is not tethered to a specific work area nor forced to function in any predefined way. Joe Smith spends mornings, and even sometimes an entire day, connected from home via sophisticated voicemail and E-mail systems, as well as a pager. His work is process and task-oriented. As long as he gets everything done, that's what counts. Ultimately, his productivity is greater and his job-satisfaction level is higher. And for somebody trying to get in touch with him, it's easy. Nobody can tell that Joe might be in his car or sitting at home reading a stack of resumes in his pajamas. The call gets forwarded to him wherever he's working.You've just entered the vast frontier of the virtual office--a universe in which leading-edge technology and new concepts redefine work and job functions by enabling employees to work from virtually anywhere. The concept allows a growing number of companies to change their workplaces in ways never considered just a few years ago. They're scrapping assigned desks and conventional office space to create a bold new world where employees telecommute, function on a mobile basis or use satellite offices or communal work areas that are free of assigned spaces with personal nick nacks.IBM, AT&T, Travelers Corporation, Pacific Bell, Panasonic, Apple Computer and J.C. Penney are among the firms recognizing the virtual-office concept. But they're just a few. The percentage of U.S....

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