Although I’ve been thinking for a while, I finally replaced my standard home office desk with *nothing*. Yes, no more conventional desk!
I must admit it, on one hand it is a bit liberating, but on the other it is hard leaving the past behind.
Like for most of us, the music library is complete digital and accessible from any device (Amazon Music). My magazines are all digitally delivered (Zinio & Kindle). My books are either audio (Audible) or digital (Kindle) as well. The phone book goes to recycle the moment I receive it – I can’t believe they still make it and deliver it. All of my home paperwork is now scanned using my iPhone (ScannerPro) and automatically moved to a shared (with wife) cloud folder. Also, WiFi replaced wired connections across the house a long time ago.
As for my work, it is mostly done over a secure remote desktop session or web-based applications. I travel a lot (80%), so I am constantly in hotel rooms, lobbies and coffee shops. My work phone is my cell phone. Whenever I am at a corporate office, I use the hosteling areas and conference rooms. Wireless (phone and WiFi) truly changed the nature of where we work.
As a side note, two thing that have resisted the digital transformation:
- Family Photo and Movie collection – I still have a NAS at home to store these as I have not found a good cloud app / place for this yet. Tried several options but no success yet..
- The family cookbook and recipe collection… We like all of the notes, marks, stains and general state of disarray it is on – Lots of memories in it.
A while back I replaced my desktop computer with a couple of laptops (one for backup just in case). Most (95%) of all of my data is in the cloud (DropBox or OneDrive).
So what do I need a desk for? When I work, or need to access information, I am in the kitchen, living room, couch, family room, bed, deck or pool. I am rarely physically at my desk and it was turning to be a catch-all for boxes, random papers, collection of large monitors, and a device charging station which held older devices that I rarely use.
So when I replaced my desk with a comfortable chair and laptop stand. My wife is having a hard time with this change, reinforced by some friends’ comments made: “Why are you giving him less space”, From my view point, it is more comfortable, and it resembles more the airlines first class seat that I am used to <says smiling> .
Side note: For fun, I looked at used airplane first-class seats, but did not find many available. What I really want, and have used, is the very comfortable Steelcase’s Brody Work Lounge but the $3,500 price was a deterrent to my house CFO (we went the IKEA route).
So this is what my future work space scenario is:
The current laptop anywhere / anytime / any application mobile road warrior works well for me. When on the road, I have to find quite places to have work related telecons, and at home, a quiet place where I do not disturb the rest of the family members is also good.
For this quiet place, to immerse myself into my work, I would like to sit on a comfortable chair, put my VR glasses, and earphones on, and “logon into my office” What do I see next? I am sitting in a room where I see three monitors in front of me. Background is the beach (with waves). Monitor on the right will have today’s schedule, latest email inbox and communications tool). Center monitor will have the latest work document or IDE I was working on. Left monitor my social media monitor application.
Tired of the beach? No problem, change the background to the mountains, the city, or a live view of London Financial District off the second floor office, or even a cubicle area with other work colleagues.
When I receive a call, my communications app (Skype) tells me who is calling. I answer the audio call and start talking to them. I share one of my apps with the caller (working on the latest PowerPoint presentation and Excel) and collaborate for a bit… We decide to switch to video and call a couple more people. All four of us appear on the monitor.
Who knows, maybe VR Glasses are not needed – The virtual screens can appear in front of you, but the immersive part of the workspace really appeals to me..
My son tells me that there are several applications that have some of these feature, but the technology is still early. Issues like resolution (to be able to see what you type) and input (keyboard / mouse) interfaces are still being worked out…
I patiently wait for the technology to catch up. In the meantime, I have my comfortable new and unconventional home workspace that people will be raising an eyebrow for a while longer.