In Remote: Office Not Required, author Jason Fried looks a bit of a joy: “To all the friends who are stuck on the road.” He is also the founder of Basecamp, a remote collaboration software. Robert Propst, the designer of the cubicle form office, apologized for the grid he designed in 1968 in the twilight of his life.
“Not all businesses are so smart, pursuing progress, and a lot of rude operators just make small, narrow compartments and stuff people inside. They’re all places as shabby as mouse dens. “
On the one hand, people are suffering from both physical and mental insecurity, on the other, Internet companies are following Google’s lead in transforming offices into open-plan, shared offices, and telecommuting in the midst of an epidemic. So will the traditional form of the office eventually disappear?
Before the cubicles were designed, farmers and businessmen tended to work from home before the industrial revolution spawned more productive factories. The division of the areas of their lives and work is relatively blurred. Later, because of the desire for efficiency, people separated their living and working areas and created offices. But with the evolution and popularity of the Internet, mobile devices and communication tools, people seem to be being driven home again. In this sense, telecommuting has completed a round of revival.
Get out of the house, go to the office.
Before the Industrial Revolution, with the emergence of the first family offices, a centralized place was needed to manage state affairs. The first administrative buildings appeared. The Uffizi Gallery is the representative of the Uffizi Gallery, which was built in 1581 by the Medici family in Florence. Because it was considered a government office before the 18th century, the Uffizi Gallery is considered to be the predecessor of the office. The oldest office is nearly 500 years old.
Uffiz Art Museum , Wikipedia
Between 1760 and 1840, the first industrial revolution pushed the labor force from “small workshops” to “big factories” with more concentrated production, with people moving across their homes and out of work. By the early 19th century, telephones, telegrams, typewriters, and public electricity were born and revolutionized, revolutionizing modern American offices.
After World War II, perhaps against Nazi centralisation and antipathy to surveillance, europe began to fashion a more casual office layout. People no longer sit in rows, can walk around, chat, only screen and green to separate the private space. This design, known as the “Office View”, is in the making.
In 1968, designer Robert Propst designed a cubicle based on “Office View.” It’s a set of assembled desks and partitions that can be unfolded from the tabletop. “Propst, who wanted to bring a democratic touch to the office, created an office landscape and a billion-dollar industry, and made slavery more concrete. New York Times author Pagan Kennedy wrote.
“In the 1990s, with the feverish fantasies of the dotcom bubble, a variety of utopian office spaces were constantly emerging: like micro-city officespace, with bowling spaces, like office parks on university campuses, like small, comfortable offices in a family garage or recreation room. Nikil Saval describes it in his compartment: a history of office evolution. Google, which promotes open-plan office, is typical. In addition, it removes the gap on the desk so that employees can reduce the gap and enhance communication. These companies seem to be taking on Propst’s willingness to make office more democratic and open.
Working from Home . . . Pixabay
At the same time, Google also allows some employees, or people to telecommute under certain circumstances. The company has built a cloud-based office suite that is serving the world. Last year, Google also optimized its search engine for people looking to work remotely. Job seekers can find targets more accurately by setting the location to “work from home” when searching. This also shows from the side, the number of remote workers more and more.
From family workshops to factories to cubicles, the shape of the office has been changing. Now, people have taken down the partition. In the future, they may also tear down offices directly.
Have a computer, what do you want the office to do?
The number of remote workers in the U.S. grew by 159 percent between 2005 and 2017, with a total of 4.7 million telecommuting in 2017, according to a report by FlexJobs, a leading U.S. recruitment website. 3.4% of the U.S. workforce (up from 2.9% in 2015).
Now, #WorkFromAnywhere and #DigitalNomad tags are appearing more and more frequently on social media. “Digital travellers” are happy to promote this “work anywhere” way, which is not bound by time or geography. But the idea of “remote office” out of the office is not a new concept.
The concept began in 1973 and even predates the world’s first personal computer. That year, the United States was in the midst of a national energy crisis. Jack Nilles, a former NASA engineer, rightly argues that telecommuting is an innovative way to address urban sprawl, traffic congestion and a lack of non-renewable resources.
If you look back, farmers and businessmen tended to work from home before the industrial revolution spawned more productive factories. With the evolution of the Internet, mobile devices and communication tools, people have the right to be “off-the-spot”. If the industrial revolution drove people to offices, the digital revolution was to drive them home.
In 1975, IBM introduced the IBM 5100, the ancestor of modern personal computers. The 25-kilogram computer comes with a 1.9MHz processor, up to 64KiB memory, a 5-foot black-and-white display and a QWERTY keyboard. Six years later, IBM released the first personal computer in its true sense, the IBM 5150 (IBM PC), which starts at $1,565.
In 1979, IBM conducted an experiment with five employees to ease the congestion of office hosts. IBM installed a quadruped green screen terminal in its employees’ homes to keep them remote from home. In 1983, the company had 2,000 employees working remotely. Thirty years after the experiment began, IBM said in a report that it had about 386,000 employees in 173 countries, 40 percent of whom were not in the office at all. More than 58 million square feet of offices were demolished, saving nearly $2 billion.
In 1983, the Internet’s predecessor, ARPANET, began using TCP/IP, a common protocol between all hosts, which gave birth to the modern Internet. In the same year, North America introduced a mobile phone system (AMPS) to bring the first generation (1G) analog mobile phones into the commercial market. Two years later, Microsoft launched its first version of the Windows operating system.
In 1997, IEEE issued the first-generation wireless LAN standard, the 802.11 protocol, after which technology changed several times. From 802.11 that year to Wi-Fi 6 in 2019, Wi-Fi speeds increased 5,000 times to 10,000Mbps.
In 1999, tools like Basecamp (formerly 37signals) began to emerge, providing management and employees with a centralized effort to manage workflows remotely. To date, more than 100,000 companies are still using this project management software. In 2003, the video chat tool Skype was launched. In 2016, the daily active user base of Slack, an online collaboration tool, grew to 4 million in three years. In 2019, Zoom, a video collaboration software, said it had 50,800 customers with more than 10 employees, a five-fold increase from 2017.
Portable personal computers, almost ubiquitous Wi-Fi, and the ever-improving tools to solve online communication challenges have partly taken on the responsibilities that people must take on in the office.
“We’re going to be a craftsman again.”
“With the further development of telecommuting technology in the early 2000s, designers and theorists began to catch a glimpse of the end of the physical office itself. Physical offices will be replaced by invisible, ubiquitous offices, sitting in cafes and living rooms, connected to the Internet. Employees of a company nominally based in Mumbai, India, may be staying in New Canaan, Connecticut, and wearing pajama pajamas to attend the company’s online meetings. Nikil Saval wrote.
Digital travellers are happy to promote this “work everywhere” way, which is not bound by time or geography.
Entrepreneurs like Erik Veldhoen, who believe in the potential of telecommuting, told Saval that the changes brought about by the digital revolution would not be lost to the industrial revolution of the year. The digital revolution is already changing the way people feel time and space. In their view, the industrial revolution was a mistake that lasted two hundred years, which cruelly trapped humanity in a fixed position day after day, and a new era that will take us back to the pre-industrial era. “We’re at the end of the day, and we’re going to be back as craftsmen,” he said. “
“Workplaces, such as factories, come to the world with the sound of whistles and sirens, and the silence is loud; “In the eyes of tele-work optimists, the office may explode in this silence, dispersing into a home office and sharing a co-op. “The office may not die, but its importance is bound to diminish. “The author of Remote says so.