June 20, 2005--Offices of the future will be more mobile, but employees may be more tied down and burnt-out than ever, according to a study released Wednesday by OfficeTeam, an employment agency based in California.
The study, "Office of the Future: 2020," included surveys of employees and executives at 1,000 U.S. companies, as well as interviews with technology experts and futurists. The report found that offices would be more portable with a majority of employees using complex wireless devices to perform their work. The study predicted that in the future, handheld wireless devices will do everything from take and scan pictures to log into an office computer and schedule virtual meetings.
Such high-tech equipment would spark a significant increase in telecommuting, according to Reesa Staten, vice president of research at OfficeTeam. The survey reported that 87% of executives said telecommuting would increase in the next 10 to 15 years.
The report also said that high-tech office equipment is expected to increase the amount of time spent working, said Staten. The study found that 42% of executives believed employees would be working more hours in 10 to 15 years, and 86% of executives said workers would be more connected to the office while on vacation.
"It's a case of 'be careful what you wish for'," Staten said. "The key will be striking a right balance. You should take advantage of all these new tools, but as an employer, you need to realize that there has to be a line. As people work more hours and work through vacations, they're going to reach a level of diminishing returns, and their productivity will begin to suffer."