Office plants, IoT, and the future of work

The much derided devil’s ivy (epipremnum aureum) is probably not at the forefront of the public discussion about the future of work, but we might as well give the inauspicious pot plant a second look if we want to rethink the way we to work together in the future.

Growth matters. Photo by Tom Ezzatkhah on Unsplash

Let’s face it, there were always two reasons why being in the same room while working separately on related projects was deemed a necessity: for one it’s easier to collaborate, and for two it’s easier to be supervised.

Both have taken a hit with the advent of collaboration and productivity platforms, from Slack to Trello to Github, but only one of them will likely survive as an impetus to meet up in person rather than virtually.

Future workplace. Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

So now that even big employers like Google and Novartis are shifting to a default work-from-home model, the two questions that come up are: How much designated office space do we still need in the future? And how will it look like?

A very preliminary answer to the first question is “less than before but not zero.” Even those who have gotten a first taste of working from home and appreciated its benefits agree that meeting in person is still a necessity once or twice a week.

I write about how technology shapes the world we live in.