INFOGRAPHIC: The Office – Past, Present and… Dead?

Death of the Office?

Any infographic entitled ‘DEATH of the Office’ in big bold capitals is bound to catch our attention – and this interactive piece by Intuit did just that.

We’re not saying the office is going away, at least not yet. Will the office ever truly die? The jury’s still out, and probably will be for many generations to come. Nobody really knows of course, but while we’re enjoying a peek into what the future might hold, this infographic also does a pretty good job of showing us where we’ve been.

For instance the infographic, released in 2014, shows us that 2.3% of U.S. workers telecommuted in 1980, compared to 4.4% in 2012. Just two years later, the number of workers telecommuting “some hours” each week has rocketed to 24%.

43% of small business leaders report saving £590 or more each month thanks to telecommuting employees, while 31% of employees say they would take a salary cut for the privilege of working at home.

Untethered office design

Other findings shed light on the trend towards a more flexible workplace design. When CBRE experimented with various workplace perks including an ‘untethered’ office design, in which workers chose their own place to sit, they experienced a cost increase of 15% per square foot. However, they simultaneously saved around 30% on rent and other office capital expenditures.

And for those who work flexibly or remotely, the research gives a convincing account of improved employee motivation, output and company loyalty.

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Is this what office-dwellers or business owners had in mind a few decades ago when they considered the office of the future? Probably not. In the 1960s, an episode of Tomorrow’s World predicted that technology would largely take the place of human interaction.

As we sit here, at a desk or on the train, 2014 hasn’t quite delivered on sci-fi-esque designs of robots and teleportation. But far from eliminating human roles and responsibilities, technology has become the enabler – allowing us to work without walls and across borders, bringing jobs to people thousands of miles away and creating new roles for new technologies and niche services.

Whatever vision of the future we have for the next 50 or 100 years, no doubt it will be wide of the mark. But given the pace and the ever-widening reach at which technology is advancing, we can safely say that the sky – or rather the cloud – is the limit.

Browse the infographic below, or see the full interactive version here: Intuit – Death of the Office?

Infographic - Intuit, Death of the Office?