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An office of the future makes the most of Internet and wireless technology by eliminating a dependence on paper documentation. The term can also refer to the way an office's furniture and layout is designed. Some of the futuristic design trends include open work areas, gathering places and work lounges, office space that is shared, videoconferencing and electronic white boards.
The main concept behind the office of the future is to make it as paperless as possible. A heavy reliance on digital technology, including online storage, online back-up and virtual faxes could be used to accomplish this objective. File sharing and exchange is also a popular method to decrease the amount of paper documents that an office relies on.
Additional forms of technology that are incorporated into the office of the future include videoconferencing and electronic whiteboards. Videoconferencing offices are set up to mimic an in-person meeting, which eliminates the need for and hassle of travel. Over time costs associated with frequent travel between managers of geographically separated offices is also reduced. Productivity may also increase as time is saved, since the virtual meeting can happen on a moment's notice.
Some of the furniture arrangements behind the office of the future include the use of a workstation that incorporates a treadmill and a video desk. Workers can stand up and walk while they are catching up with messages or documents that need to be sent. The workstation eliminates the need for on-site gyms and ensures that formerly desk-bound workers are able to get in a certain amount of physical exercise during the day.
Glass doors are popular designs in the office of the future. Instead of barriers that workers are not able to see through, the use of glass visually represents the idea of open communication between subordinates and managers. At the same time, cubicles may be eliminated in favor of open work areas, shared office space and connected workstations. The idea is to facilitate more cooperation and teamwork between co-workers.
Other features of the office of the future include increased comfort and relaxation. Work lounges are a popular feature of these types of offices. Many might be concerned that this arrangement gives workers a license to become lax in their work habits. While these lounges may feature comfortable settings, they also come equipped with the technological tools to perform the necessary functions of the job. They also promote working in groups and sharing ideas.