Twenty-five years ago, The Harvard Business Review looked that the impact of the portable phone, how it would transform the office and make it almost meaningless in an article titled Your Office is Where You Are. Three Years ago, the New York Times showed a vision of a paperless home office with two scanners, a big computer, a rack of hard drives and a big desk to hold it all. Last year, with a bit of tongue in cheek, I wrote that Your Office Is In Your Pants, that the technology is getting so small that you don't even need to have a home office anymore, because all of the technology you need can fit in your pocket. Today in the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo pretty much describes exactly that.
Manjoo has dumped the landline and even the cellphone for Skype, and pays a few dollars a month for unlimited North American outgoing calls. (I go a step further and pay for a skypein phone number (with a New York City area code) so that people can call in as well.) He finds it uncomfortable to use headphones, and has invested in some pretty fancy Plantronics speakerphone tech, a "nerve center for all your phones. Unfortunately that is going to tie him down in one place.
He has a printer, but isn't tethered to it; it has built in wifi and one can even email to it, so it could be anywhere.
But the most interesting piece of equipment was his Motorola Atrix Android phone, which has an optional laptop docking station. He writes:
When you plug the Atrix 2 into the dock, the dock’s screen and keyboard come alive. I found the Atrix 2 to be a great phone and a slightly less good laptop. My problem with its laptop mode was that it seemed slow compared with a standard computer, and its touch pad was a bit awkward.... One advantage, though, is that the laptop has a built-in 4G Internet connection, meaning that it gets speedy Web access even if you’re not in a Wi-Fi hotspot... you can get a phone and a computer that you can use anywhere — whether your home office is the spare room or the local Starbucks.
I realize that a lot of people still need to go to the office, if you are a chemist or a doctor you are not working at home. But for those who can, with the cloud for storage, the computer in your phone, the wireless printer for those few times you need to print, and with the end of the scanner and the digital camera as they morph into your phone, do you really even need a home office anymore? I wonder. I was joking last year when I said Your Office is in your Pants, but it is closer every day.
More in the New York Times