Today: October 22, 2016, 5:30 am

Businesses are run at a pace of data exchange, data communications and real-time audio and video
Beyond SOHO: The Future of Work - a new market research report on 2014-03-19 00:13:01
Today, the world of work is undergoing significant change as social media, capable network connections, mobility drives further changes in the way we all work. The traditional way of working was to interact at work with other men to make decisions and then wait for the telecommunications of the day either by post or telegraph. Today, businesses are run at the pace of data exchange: data communications and real-time audio and video enable a world of work that is rapidly expanding to consume the available time of professional workers.

Clarence Day, the author of Life with Father, wrote extensively of office environments in the late 1890s. As a youth, he was permitted to accompany his father on trips to the office, where he would perform menial tasks, like running errands or helping clean rubber stamps. His description of professional work is enlightening.

He describes a world where business was conducted face-to-face or through the mail. Correspondence was in long hand, for the most part, and ledgers were updated by people known as computers or bookkeepers, who entered figures in different colored inks, and were selected on the basis of their abilities to add and subtract accurately, and to endure almost killing boredom. The world he describes is almost totally manual: there were no telephones, no typewriters in most offices, and certainly none of the yet to be invented calculators or digital computers. The business world was a man´s world; there were no women.

People from that era would not even recognize the professional environment of today. Where their world was manual and personal, the professional environment now is highly automated and impersonal. People working remotely are not only accepted in most companies, they are encouraged. And computers are no longer people; as much as they may sometimes act like them.

For many, the future of work looks like an ever more overwhelming experience of too many demands and not enough time.

Yet, the world of work that is familiar today is undergoing a sea change. In response to more capable network connections, social media, and mobility, the work environment is evolving quickly. In years, the average work environment will be as foreign to most people now as today´s work environment would be to someone from the 1890s. If one could magically enter that world, what constitutes work would not seem like work at all. In fact, if there is a good analog in today´s world, it would be e-gaming.

This migration of work from the office to the home is profound: it defines the way in which professional workers interact, conduct business and manage their work-home dynamic. It also, not incidentally, defines how they buy and utilize communication services. Those who work at home most of the time utilize the most communication services. Interestingly, there is an inverse correlation for short duration home workers; possibly because such workers are either part-time or non-professional, and consequently have a consumption that maps to the time they have available to use such services.

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