10 Endangered Species Leaving Your Office by 2017

Dinosaurs are fun to look at in The Field Museum. It’s not actually fun to look like a dinosaur in an entrepreneurial setting.

“Oh, that’s not our company,” you scoff. Well, put down the phone in your cubicle and stop sending that fax because depending on the tools and practices you’re using, you might not be quite as progressive as you think. Especially if you witness the opinions of more than 7,000 professionals surveyed by LinkedIn as part of its “Office Endangered Species” study released yesterday.

Here’s the top 10 list of tools and cultural practices that professionals worldwide see as becoming potential relics by the year 2017:

1.    Tape recorders (79%)

2.    Fax machines (71%)

3.    The Rolodex (58%)

4.    Standard working hours (57%)

5.    Desk phones (35%)

6.    Desktop computers (34%)

7.    Formal business attire like suits, ties, pantyhose, etc. (27%)

8.    The corner office for managers/executives (21%)

9.    Cubicles (19%)

10.  USB thumb drives (17%)

The Dream Office

What would these same professionals like to see in the future?

  • Having a clone or assistant to help them through the day’s tasks (practically speaking, I’m thinking more Siri-like technology than literal clones of people)
  • A place in the office that provides natural sunlight
  • A quiet place where employees are allowed to take a nap
  • Amusingly, almost 1 in 5 people surveyed said they’d like a mute button for their co-workers, so they didn’t have to hear them talk.

With the global rise of tablets, cloud storage and smartphone usage, along with flexible work hours and social networks, it’s not surprising that we’re becoming more untethered to our desks, to our offices and to traditional business practices. I see entrepreneurs leading this charge more than ever, but it’s not limited anymore to the up-and-coming startups. The trend here is clear and has implications for future employee recruiting, particularly to the Millennial set – if you’re doing business as usual, it may be time to re-evaluate how you want to be positioned internally and externally.

It begins with asking the question – how truly essential is this tool or practice to our success? Do we really need corner offices and cubicles to appropriately establish a hierarchy or can the CEO sit next to the entry-level person? Do we really need everybody to be at their desks in order to feel connected or can some work virtually, communicate via Skype and accomplish the same goals? Does everyone really need to be there at 9am and leave at 5pm every day or can adjustments be made to accommodate special work / life balances?

I wouldn’t wait until 2017 to figure it out.

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