The Changing Office Environment

Mobile technology and a customer thirst for valuable advice are changing the face of the business office and how work gets done.Everyone senses the office environment is changing. Just look around. People wearing casual clothes. Or just look around and notice a lot of people are absent and working somewhere else.

Gordon Plutsky of King Fish Media, writing for ragan.com, provides a provocative look at the office world just around the corner. He contends the emerging office will be a fluid place, with as much work done on people's patios as their office desktop — all because of exploding use of mobile technology.

The fragmentation of roles, Plutsky says, will solidify into a common marketing function with a single aim — revenue generation. Next to the CEO, the most important person in the shop will be the chief marketing officer, whose job will center on perfecting the consumer or client experience to maximize revenue potential.

Here are some of Plutsky's other predictions:

1. Backslapping salespeople will disappear, replaced by people who have the industry experience or special expertise to be valuable resources for customers, who mostly will place orders online. 

2. Cold calling or other disruptive sales tactics will become obsolete. You will need to establish an online reputation for offering insight of value that attracts customers.

3. Throw away your resume and build a portfolio that shows off your skills and talents. Be aware that what's on the Internet never disappears, so guard and manage your ever-more-public reputation. 

4. Traditional 9-to-5 work hours and office space are going by the boards. People are connected 24/7 and don't need to hover near the company fax machine. Younger workers feel confined in offices or cubicles and want workspaces with an open design to accommodate collaboration, job sharing and telecommuting.

5. Rethink the role of the office printer as more documents live online. This goes for retailers, too, who may need to junk their mailers and turn to online outreach and mobile message delivery.

6. Internal IT systems will gravitate to the cloud and workers may choose to work from their own electronic devices. With technology changing rapidly, it is important to think about "replacement" buying and keep an ear close to the ground for breakthrough technologies.

7. Customer engagement may transcend the concept of target audiences and customer demographics. Engagement will be based instead on interests and passions, fed by quality content, not segmented communications.

8. More face-to-face business will occur online as companies invest in enterprise video-conferencing systems to substitute for extensive travel and avoid wasted time waiting around in airports.