Imagine A World Without Cubicles

Most of us start our Monday mornings drudging into the office gulping down our stale cup of coffee within the confines of a bland cubicle. Though we are surrounded by other inmates, our interactions are limited to emails. Lots and lots of emails. We’re too bogged down to even think of collaborating with each other.

What if things could be different?

Imagine starting your day on a mobile device while you sip coffee at an outdoor breakfast nook. You open your social collaboration app on your phone and see a customer has a question. Darn it. You don’t know the answer, so you reach out to your online social communities. In minutes, colleagues from around the globe start a discussion and help you come up with a great strategy to resolve the issue. No emails were exchanged. The problem was solved quickly.

Impossible? Not anymore. I’ve seen the future. It’s pretty awesome. JiveWorld brings innovators from around the world to share their stories of collaboration and innovation. Global companies have been adopting collaborative platforms for several years. It was interesting to see how these massive organizations communicate across time zones and oceans to serve their customers.

Hints of a change in workforce management caught my imagination during one session. One CEO is experimenting with what he calls a “Contingent Workforce.” Resources come in. Do what is needed and then head for the next project. Result: a reduction in overhead costs. I know. This sounds like the “hire a contractor” model. BUT – here’s what my day dream for the future would look like from a worker’s point of view:

Imagine wrapping up a job. You check your social collaboration app on your mobile device. There are two companies who’d like you to spend the next six months with them working on a project. You check the calendar. It’s almost June. You decide you’d like to take a month long vacation. Why not? You don’t have to ask anyone, because you are your own boss. In fact. All contingency workers are their own bosses. You change your status as “unavailable” until July. One of the companies agrees to the new start date. And there it is. All you need to do now is plan your vacation. A job will be waiting for you when you get back.

Sounds pretty sweet to me. I’d love to see this happen in my life time. Fingers crossed!

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