Is the office becoming obsolete?

At Something You Said, we now have about 50 contributors. They are based all over the world, from Sydney to Austin via London, Berlin and a host of other places. So, obviously, we don’t work from one central office (imagine the commute to work for some of us). Instead, we laugh in the face of the 9-5 and weave our way through countless time-zones, communicating via the magic of the internet in order to bring you daily doses of awesomeness.

With this in mind, I wonder whether the traditional office environment is becoming something of an anachronism. Will the idea of treading the same carpet space as your colleagues for eight hours a day soon become obsolete? After all, now you can have a meeting via Skype, simultaneously work on a shared document on Google Drive, upload said article to your WordPress website and share the link with your client in an email and with your audience via Facebook and Twitter. All of which is free and can be done from the comfort of your own living room.

The disadvantage of working from home is that cabin fever can set in. Some days, I find myself still in bed at 1pm, having been locked to my laptop from the moment I awoke, answering emails, typing content, checking Facebook, listening to an album on Soundcloud that some cute band has asked me to check out… that kinda thang. Similarly, I often find myself still working at the desk in my bedroom at 2am. “I’ll reply to one more email and then go to bed…. oh, actually, just one more…”

And this is where the idea of taking your work out of your home but not into a traditional office seems perfect. Someone recently told us of the idea of “Coffice”, which is when cafes are utilised as temporary office spaces. I really struggle with buzzwords. Firstly I am an English stick-in-the-mud and secondly I am a lover of language, so they are never going to sit nicely with me, but the notion behind the word is something that I can totally get on board with. If I am going to have a meeting, shall I have it in my bedroom? Probably not. Unless it’s a sexy meeting. No, I am going to take it to a cafe. If I want a change of environment which removes the temptation for an afternoon nap or to settle down in front of Ellen, I can head to the library. And it seems that the world is gearing itself up for this to become an increasingly common occurrence.

Nowadays, cafes dedicate more of their window display space to advertising the fact that they have free Wi-Fi access than they do to their daily specials. And technology is quickly embracing the Coffice revolution as well. You can pick up iddy biddy keyboards that turn your tablet into a laptop or solar powered, wireless ones that you can use as a universal keyboard for your laptop, tablet, smartphone etc. I have never had any interest in owning an iPad (to me it just seemed like a really big iPhone), but having seen my mate in the pub using one with a ridiculously cheap keyboard, I would give the idea of getting one much more consideration.

Obviously it’s not practicable for offices to disappear completely. There are countless jobs that require them to remain functioning, but the shift in attitude/technology towards people being able to work on the move or from any location certainly removes some rigidity from the working world. And, as long as my deadlines are still getting met, I think it’s kinda nice that I can undertake it in a bedroom in Brighton, in a library in LA or in cafe in Canberra.

Words by Bobby Townsend

If you wanna get yourself one of those snazzy keyboards or other tablet accessories, we recommend the Logitech ones. Oh, and they’ve got some pretty neato ipod docks too. Find them here