Offices in the New Age of Collaboration

I was reading about a new study from Australia that said wall less offices make people less productive on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) website.  In there I found that, they said the cubical back in the day made people get more work done.  This could be true but today’s world is different as there is more that can throw us off our work.  The Internet has grown massively with videos and games plus cellphones have 3G and LTE technology, all this can make us less focused on the task at hand.

In today’s society people want to collaborate with others on a bigger scale.  You can see this with Car or Bike Share programs around the world plus the need to post on the fly with social media.  Also people who don’t work in an office or have days off can be found either at a cafe or library to bring back the social interaction in their life.  For myself, I am being drawn to the outside world as I am limiting myself to how much internet I use at home.  With this, there has been an upsurge in the coworking spaces that are being built, which draw in lots of people who either need an office or space to work for a few hours or their staff isn’t large enough at the moment to buy their own office.

On the side of the coin, there has been a large movement of young people moving to work in an old open concept office called Farms.  I have been reading for the last few years that young people are moving to farms for different reasons.  Yet, another concept came about recently as I was reading young people are moving back to take over farms their parents own.  This is a new concept as for years, people always said “Farms are dead, as you invest massive amounts of money and never sure if you will make any money back.” Is this a way of young people saying “We want to collaborate with others but in the openness of the outdoors?”

Both ways, I believe have fueled a different kind of office environment from what most of our parents are use to.  We are more creative, active and interact with more people.  The old way of having an office is slowly dying but there will always be people saying, “Oh, I need to see what my employees are doing.” Take Yahoo for example, the CEO said “There are people out there working from home for us but not really for Yahoo at all, let’s bring them back into the office.” Then you have the late Steve Jobs, who wanted to build an oval shaped spaceship sorta office for all Apple employees so they can all work together.  Last, Google, who now has a massive office space at their headquarters which you have to bike to get to some meetings.  All in all, offices of these scales are creating neighbourhoods within the office and seems that the interactions are greater.

Most of the people above have to transport themselves everyday to an office and back home which is no good as the majority don’t live near the office.  Where do people live? They are living near bigger cities as that is where the fun is.  Why can’t society believe in the people and collaborate in the real world, where people actually have time for family and friends and get to meet their neighbours?  I think the real question is why do we lock ourselves indoors more than we use to get work done?

All these questions bring me back to the farms that young people are being drawn too.  There should be more sustainable offices which farming is in a sense.  I am thinking hard about the office of the future and this is not about being bigger but being more interactive and allowing people to work when, where and how they want.  For myself, I want to be out in the field helping people farm and not in the crazy city or an office or meeting where I feel really sad listening to the same ideas and thoughts over and over again. There is only a select few who enjoy these situations and the rest do this for the income.

In the video below you will see some young people who are jumping at the chance to farm and getting their hands dirty.

Full video available. Note the video may not be available in all countries

What is your experience with offices and collaboration?  Why do you work in the type of office you do?

Posted in Authors, General Technology, Minimal Tech, shawnrisk

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