Over the last two years, in my consulting role I have encountered an increasing number of organisations whose staff work from home one or two days a week. This has many benefits for both employer and employee. People still attend the office for a number of reasons, the office culture, communication and collaboration being core.
Cloud Computing has enabled many organisations to significantly reduce or indeed eliminate the office IT, from hardware servers to application software, replacing it with cloud services that can be accessed from mobile devices using high speed wireless networks. As Cloud based software continues to develop and offer more and more real-time collaborative tools including video conferencing, I started to consider the scenario of organisations eliminating the overhead of physical offices. There is, with Cloud technology the real possibility that organisations can exist effectively without having a physical office to which employees attend.
As an example of the type of cloud based services that could help accelerate office-less organisations, Logitech have launched a HD cloud video conferencing system that is available on a pay-as-you-use basis. This opens up facilities to all organisations that have previously only been affordable by large multi-national companies. Many of the benefits of attending an office can be overcome using technology such as this. At a lower level the collaborative features of productivity tools such as Microsoft Office365 enable real-time communication and collaboration too. Its an interesting thought that Microsoft Office365 could be the beginning of the end of the physical office.