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What Will the Office of the Future Look Like?

Futuristic officeOffices are terrible for productivity. Fluorescent light and beige carpeting are soul crushing, cubicles are the deserving butt of a million jokes, real collaboration (or even a personal call) is near impossible in open offices and so is deep concentration as everyone distracts everyone.

On the other hand, working from home is no picnic either, and remote workers often feel isolated, struggle to demonstrate their worth to the boss and spend lots of time annoying coffee shop workers.

Gen Y blogger Rebecca Thorman takes a look at the unsatisfying options on her blog Modite today and suggests an alternative work space (her idea doubles as a suggestion for someone looking to start a booming business). We need "third spaces," she says, that combine "college library, hip office, and the corner coffee shop." They should feature:

  • Large monitors, ergonomic keyboards, and all the right cords, so that customers can just bring in their laptops and begin.
  • Plugs and outlets that hang from the ceiling or are built into the table desks.
  • Real table desks that don't make it precarious to place a soda next to a laptop, and ergonomic chairs.
  • Copiers, faxes, printers, staplers, tape, paper, pens, and all the latest technology.
  • Baristas that double as the Geek Squad if customers have IT issues.
  • Private conference areas for companies to hold meetings in to impress clients and employees.
  • Sofas, warmth, books and other comforts of home.
  • Exposed brick walls and a library wall
  • Really good food, wine, beer and all the regular coffee accoutrements.
"None of these ideas are particularly new or ingenious," Thorman points out, "but no one has executed on them and done it well." She also urges anyone looking to start such a place to take on an evangelical role and "advocate for a new way of work and encourage stodgy companies to build new policies. The kind of policies that allow their employees to work at a company's offices or in your coffee shop office."

What do you think of Thorman's vision of a 21st century work space? Could you suggest something better?

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(Vintage futurism image from Nels_P_Olsen, CC 2.0)