The office of the past, present and future – Part IX – Blurring the boundaries

Last updated: 15 May 2018

As we leave 2013 behind us and firmly embrace 2014, many of us are making New Year’s resolutions that we may or may not keep. How many of you have resolved to get fitter, go jogging or kick a ball about in the yard more frequently? How many of you have told yourselves you’ll learn a new skill or language this year? And, I can probably say with certainty that most of you have promised you’ll make more time for friends and family this year.

So how does that last resolution stack up? Let’s take a look at our working and personal lives and see how feasible this is. If you consider the office slider image below, both of these desks could easily be home working desks. Many of us already work from home and have created an ‘office’ at home from which we can work undisturbed. Those of us who are mostly office-based try to personalize our working area, with family photos or favorite soccer teams.

What has happened is that our working and personal lives are increasingly blurring nowadays, as we check emails at home on our personal devices and Skype with family and friends during our lunch break from work. Some see this as a contentious point, but others appreciate the flexibility that technology now permits, ensuring that we can remain connected to our friends and family wherever we are.

Just a few years ago, certain employees would enter their workplace in the morning and forgo all contact with the outside world unless for an emergency, re-emerging in the evening to socialize and forget about their work. Just consider that President Obama isn’t allowed an iPhone for instance! (He isn’t completely disconnected though as he uses a BlackBerry instead.) With the rise of smartphones, tablets, always-on devices and connectivity, most employees can now stay connected at work, on the go or wherever they may be.

(The downside is that, in return, they may be expected to stay connected to work when out of traditional working hours. This, however, remains a delicate issue to be resolved between each employee and their employer.)

What’s noticeable, however, is that whereas the retro desk would only exist in the office, these modern desks often look the same whether at work or home. Our work technology is also our preferred home technology and vice versa. We have come to expect the same levels of technology at work that we use at home, whether fast-buffering WiFi, 3 or 4G, being able to use our preferred devices (iPads or MacBook Air) and being able to switch seamlessly between browser and work-based files.

The only criteria really needed to facilitate all of this are the appropriate security measures to ensure that you can access sensitive work documents via your personal computer and devices and so on. Luckily this exists. So, coming back to our resolutions, why not work securely and effectively from home and spend the time you would have spent commuting with your friends and family instead?

Get involved on Twitter by tweeting us @Gemalto with the hashtag #MyDeskNow and a picture of your desk. Are you personalizing your desk or are you spending less time at it to focus on your friends and family? Let us know how you get on this year.

set 3 oldset 3 modern

The desktop of the past and near future, imagined by Gemalto in 2013.

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