Look to the future now – it’s only just begun … Our predictions for the world of work in 2016 | Andy Lake | LinkedIn

Source: Look to the future now – it’s only just begun … Our predictions for the world of work in 2016 | Andy Lake | LinkedIn

This is a must read from Andy Lake on the powerful forces reshaping when and where knowledge work gets done in the 21st century and how they will play out in 2016. All point to a shift out of what I term in my eBook Last Rush Hour as fixed “centralized commuter offices.”

Lake’s prognostications also touch on the tension such large scale change naturally provokes and the tug of war between the future and past practices such as a “rear guard” rebellion by cubicle rats sensing an existential threat to their nests.

Prediction: Centralized commute-in office will be gone by 2030

The Disappearing Corporate Office By 2030, professionals will work mostly from home using super-fast data terminals. Most companies will have nixed their permanent physical office locations in favor of chains of interconnected hubs with different plans for individuals to access space. Meetings will routinely occur virtually and across geographies and time zones, rendering air travel to visit clients or partners unnecessary. And if the office isn’t necessary—why are set office hours

Source: Flexible Work Schedules Are the Future – The Muse

This prediction isn’t new. It was also made half a century ago in the mid-1960s by Walter Cronkite and science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke as I mention in my recent eBook Last Rush Hour: The Decentralization of Knowledge Work in the Twenty First Century.

Facebook’s 10-Mile, $10,000 Solution to Workers’ Long Commutes | Boomtown | News Fix | KQED News

We know all about the legions of tech workers who live in fun, urbane San Francisco and commute to work in Silicon Valley. They’ve been blamed for driving up rents in the city. And the luxury buses that carry them to and from Google, Apple, Yahoo and other tech campuses have been likened to “spaceships on which our alien overlords have landed” to rule over the locals.Now, one big Silicon Valley company is trying to get its employees to move closer to work. Facebook is offering payments of $10,000 and up to workers who relocate to within 10 miles of its main campus, just off Highway 84 at the western end of the Dumbarton Bridge.

Source: Facebook’s 10-Mile, $10,000 Solution to Workers’ Long Commutes | Boomtown | News Fix | KQED News

Wouldn’t it be far easier and less costly to both Facebook and its employees to simply go virtual to end the time wasting three hour daily commutes endured by staff living in San Francisco? And do employees really need to be sitting in a cubicle to do their jobs and have co-located face time collaboration Monday through Friday?

The irony here is these Silicon Valley companies innovated information technology tools that erase time and distance in business communication and collaboration, yet remain mired in the pre-information, Industrial Age economy where knowledge work is centralized in commute-in offices. Those tools enable collaboration without the commute.

Another option Facebook should consider along with other Silicon Valley companies is bringing the work closer to the workers by using on demand “office as a service” providers in San Francisco and elsewhere instead of building massive commuter campuses and deploying bus fleets to bring the workers to the work.

The ultimate killer app: Ending the slog of the daily commute to the office

The robust development and distribution of information and communications technologies (ICT) has been accompanied by the innovation of applications. Thirty years ago, it was word processing to replace typewriters and dedicated word processors and spreadsheets to replace calculators and paper accounting ledgers. Ever since, tech entrepreneurs have been seeking the next “killer app” with potential for widespread adoption, such as today’s growth of “med-tech” devices to monitor biometrics.

Now with pre-ICT-era traffic congestion still clogging many metro areas and impeding access to jobs, a major killer app is finally scaling up to solve the problem: utilizing the Internet and remote data storage in the cloud to bring information and information workers closer together. ICT disrupts the commute (a long overdue and welcome disruption) by distributing work out of high cost office towers to communities where workers live. As transportation demand exceeds capacity and commutes have gotten longer in many metro areas, ICT has become the ultimate killer app to overcome the time and distance (and related access costs) separating them.

Jerry Brown ponders the high cost of the car as he departs Paris climate confab

The California governor had spent five days in the city promoting measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lobbying world leaders as they met to negotiate a global climate pact.On Thursday, with those negotiations entering their final stretch, Brown sat with a sweater on his shoulders, Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich’s concept of counter-productivity on his mind.“He said if you count the cost of the hours that you have to work to pay for your car and the insurance and the gasoline, and then add that, kind of translate that into time,” Brown said, “you could go faster on a bicycle.”But looking out the window at the traffic rushing by, Brown said he didn’t “know what to do with all of that, because everybody is working all the time for their car.”“That’s why this is so challenging,” he said. “What we’re doing relative to what needs to be done leaves open a lot of things to be figured out.”

Source: Jerry Brown leaves Paris: ‘We’ll see how we do’ | The Sacramento Bee

One place Brown can begin is asking why there’s so much dependence on automobiles. It’s hard to get people out of their cars when they need them to earn a living. Bill Davidow, author of the book Overconnected, writes on how the rise of the automobile and modern highways following World War II made it possible for people to work in a community far distant from the one in which they live. Now decades later, we are virtually “locked in” to commuting to work by car, Davidow asserts in his book.

But the last two decades have seen the rise of a new information and communications technology infrastructure that obviates the need to drive to a centralized, commute-in office every work day. People can use that infrastructure to bring their work to them rather than the traveling to a distant workplace, working at home or in distributed co-working shared office facilities in their communities. The latter option is also far more accessible by the bicycle commute Brown envisions.

Conversation with Michael Shear on distributed office spaces

Much of the discussion around the decentralization of knowledge work out of centralized commute-in offices is on telework — which for many connotes working from home. But that’s just one way today’s advanced information and communications technologies (ICT) can be utilized to manage transportation demand and traffic congestion, particularly for those who lack suitable home office space or don’t wish to work at home. Another is distributed office spaces located in communities where knowledge workers live offering social interaction, professional collaboration and IT support without the long commute and the stress and wasted time of rush hour traffic. Instead of thinking of access to centralized commuter offices via transportation infrastructure, a new way of thinking is emerging that flips the focus to providing access to knowledge workers where they live via ICT infrastructure.

Michael Shear heads the nonprofit Broadband Planning Initiative and Strategic Office Networks LLC (Website). He works with communities and organizations through public-private partnerships to establish and manage distributed workplace networks. These benefit knowledge workers by making work more accessible and employers by providing access to a broader labor market and better staff retention. Communities also gain “gas dollars” that would otherwise be spent on commuting and related costs by keeping them in the community. With increasing traffic congestion and reduced proximity to jobs in many metro areas as well as concerns over natural and human caused events in urban centers posing a disruptive threat to organizations, Shear believes a tipping point for broader adoption of distributed community office spaces is at hand. He has written several LinkedIn posts on the topic that can be viewed here.

California falling short in push for more clean vehicles

Even as California sells itself as an environmental success story during the United Nations summit here, the state is in danger of failing to meet its own targets for getting clean vehicles on the road.

Source: California falling short in push for more clean vehicles

Another strategy the state should adopt is to cut down on daily commute trips by encouraging employer organizations (including itself) to more widely adopt distributed work. Rather than driving to a centralized commuter office in another distant community, people would work in their own communities in co-working spaces shared by multiple employers as well as in home-based offices.

What Telecommuting Looked Like in 1973 – CityLab

Nilles’s solution to these contemporary concerns was telecommuting, but not quite telecommuting as we know it today—after all, this was before the advent of the Internet. He envisioned firms broken up into satellite offices, where employees could work remotely when they didn’t need to be physically present at headquarters.Instead of commuting to a central location downtown—and clogging up the area’s already congested streets—clerical workers would report to whichever office was closest to their homes to receive and complete assignments there. “Our primary interest, and the greatest impact on traffic and energy consumption, was reducing the commute to work,” Nilles says.

The authors wrote that “either the jobs of the employees must be redesigned so that they can still be self-contained at each individual location, or a sufficiently sophisticated telecommunications and information storage system must be developed to allow the information transfer to occur as effectively as if the employees were centrally collocated.” We know, with the benefit of hindsight, that both changes took place. (Emphasis added)

Source: What Telecommuting Looked Like in 1973 – CityLab

More than four decades after Jack Nilles penned these words (and years before the advent of today’s Internet), a “sufficiently sophisticated telecommunications and information storage system” now exists — thanks to the maturation and widespread adoption of information and communications technology. History’s stage is now set for a major reduction in daily commute trips to centralized, commute-in offices. That’s the primary message of my 2015 eBook Last Rush Hour: The Decentralization of Knowledge Work in the Twenty-First Century.

Conversation with Laurent Dhollande, CEO of Pacific Workplaces and Cloud VO

Commuting sucks. But so can working at home, which while avoiding the commute often lacks in the sense of community that for many sparks engagement and creativity. And not everyone has a suitable home office environment.

This podcast’s guest Laurent Dhollande, CEO of San Francisco-based Pacific Workplaces and Cloud VO, offers a solution: shared co-working spaces located in communities where people live offering fast Internet connections and the amenities of the centralized commuter office — sans the commute to a different community.

These community-based facilities fit nicely with the maturation of information and communications technology and its increased adoption, making time and location increasingly less important in knowledge work. This is the sense of history over the longer term, but it has not yet reached a tipping point, Dhollande observes. Many large organizations with staff living at the affordable edges of metro areas haven’t yet embraced the idea of distributed staff or have learned to manage them effectively.

Brown: Californians need ‘lighter, more elegant’ lifestyle | Local News – KCRA Home

Brown said in order to deal with climate change, Californians will have to make changes in the way they live.”We’re going to be able to be create a lighter, more elegant lifestyle over time through technological innovation,” said Brown.”We do need to change our habits, live closer to where we work, reduce the power of our automobiles, or get them into an emission free kind of technology,” he said

Source: Brown: Californians need ‘lighter, more elegant’ lifestyle | Local News – KCRA Home

As governor of the state that innovated much of the world’s information and communications technology (ICT) that decentralizes knowledge work and obsoletes daily commuting to accomplish it, Brown’s view that Californians should “live closer to where we work” reflects outdated Industrial Age thinking.

Moreover, it ignores housing market economics that push affordable housing to the far edges of metro regions, necessitating the very commuting and its associated carbon emissions that Brown decries, as noted by The (San Francisco) Bay Area Council:

The housing market has reached a crisis point. Our region’s workforce is commuting longer times, from farther distances, and paying a greater share of household income for housing, reducing quality of life and forcing businesses and families to relocate.

Instead, Brown should encourage organizations to better utilize ICT to reduce daily commute trips and decentralize knowledge work out to the communities where people live so they can work at home or in shared co-working centers.