The coffice: the future of work?
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Still toiling away in a grey office building? Boring! According to BT’s ‘soonologist’, you’ll get more done with coffee, cake and connectivity
Working in the coffice
Only connect: who needs to commute when you can be a coffice worker?
Age: As old as free Wi-Fi.
Appearance: Half coffee shop, half office. Hence the name.
Just a few words in and you’ve already lost me. It’s where all the cool kids work. Rather than commuting to a boring old office, they take their laptops to their local Starbucks or Costa, where they can …
Yap into their mobiles, hog the tables and wreck the atmosphere for anyone who just wants an espresso and a read of the papers? Well, yeah. But they can also surf the net, check their emails and access their Google Drives.
Is this another puff piece for the Guardian’s “achingly trendy” Shoreditch-based coffee shop? No. This is a piece about the changing face of work, as described by Nicola Millard. She’s a futurologist for BT.
A whatologist? She is paid to advise BT and its big customers on how working life will change over the next few years. She prefers to call herself a “soonologist”.
She’s joking, of course? One can only hope so, though one of her peers does call himself a “trend DJ”. Millard’s favourite place to work, she says, is somewhere with a bit of a life but no colleagues to distract her. “My four criteria for working,” she says, “are that I need good coffee, I need good cake, I need great connectivity – the Wi-Fi wings to fly me into the cloud – and I need company.”
That’s all very interesting … But what does it mean for the rest of us?
Precisely. Not much if you’re stacking shelves or changing old people’s incontinence pads. But if you’re a “knowledge-based” worker, Millard points out, all you need for most of the time is a phone, a computer and an internet connection. This could be in your local cafe – or it could be in your home. “There is no reason why knowledge workers shouldn’t all be working flexibly in five years’ time,” according to Millard.
How much does a futurologist earn? I too have a gift for stating the obvious. It’s not obvious to everyone. Just last year the internet giant Yahoo! banned its executives from working at home. Being “one Yahoo!”, apparently, “starts with being physically together”.
I think I’m going to be physically sick. I’ve got a better idea. Let’s go to the pubfice.
Don’t say: “I’m working late.”
Do say: “I’ll be working on latte.”
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