C&W: The end of the office as we know it

Cable & Wireless
01 Feb 2010
#1: Generation ‘Y’ communications
Traditionally businesses have led the way in communications innovation. They have had the requirement for leading edge communications and the cash to pay for it. Over the next ten years this will no longer be the case and we will increasingly see businesses follow where the consumer market leads.
The next generation of office workers already see many of the tools we use on a daily basis as obsolete. Email is already a thing of the past for them as they communicate through consumer-facing multiple social networking sites and instant messaging platforms and embrace concepts such as presence (indicating the availability of people on a network) almost instinctively. As this generation moves into the workplace they will demand this multi-channel approach to communication to be carried with them. For businesses that embrace this, we have little doubt that they will see an increase in productivity and collaboration.
The online identity of an employee will become increasingly important. Individuals can map their social networks to a greater level of granularity than ever before and integral to this is having a strong online identity which includes communication channels such as phone numbers, web addresses, Facebook pages and instant messaging profiles. They will gain full control over their online identities and bring these with them to the workplace.
As Generation Y employees tend to move jobs more frequently than their predecessors, they will require a fully portable communications profile that they can take with them when they move. Businesses will no longer provide email addresses and phone numbers to their employees but will instead co-opt their employees’ existing profiles and overlay the company’s branding for the time the individual is with them. These communication channels will be location independent and device independent, they will be wherever the employee is and they will be carried to whichever technology is in use at the time, be that a phone handset or a soft client on a laptop. Social media and instant messaging platforms will evolve into an online business environment where multiple users can seamlessly communicate and collaborate across a variety of media, increasing productivity and speeding up the completion of projects.


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