The Non-Office of the Future

designers-in-office

If you check out the VoIP reviews on Consumer-Rankings.com you’ll see some pretty impressive features. Some providers offer toll free numbers, hold music, conference calling and even free fax services. These professional features can make you feel like you’re talking to an important executive in a downtown office, when in fact it’s a small business owner sitting at home in his pajamas. The technological beauty of it is, you get the same service and small business owners don’t have to scrape together rent for a fancy office.

Now a bigger business is turning that around. Plantronics, a California company that makes wireless headsets, has set up their office on the assumption that telecommuting technology can replace coming in to work in the morning. In fact, in their new Santa Cruz office, they haven’t even bothered putting in enough desk space for everyone employed there. Instead, there are giant screens all around the office.

The office is designed so that telecommuting can easily replace any interaction you might have at work. There are rooms set up for small meetings, large meetings and “focus rooms” for working alone.  There are even screens in the cafeteria, I assume so that employees can join their coworkers for lunch.

Plantronic’s European division made the switch to encouraging telecommuting when government orders came in telling them to reduce their carbon footprint. It must have worked out for the best because the Santa Cruz office is doing it in order to make employees more efficient and let them work in the environment that is most comfortable for them.

At first, this sounded great to me: I could get errands done when I needed, work out in the middle of the day and waste no time traveling. On the other hand, mobility makes it difficult to draw the line between work and personal life. Although for me personally, the bigger fear would be that putting on shoes would start to feel like an imposition.

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