Technology has blurred the walls of the workplace in at least two dramatic ways. People who once worked inside the clear confines of a cubicle, inside an office, within an office tower in a commercial district, can now work from nearly anywhere. And because the spatial distinction has been disappearing between work and home (and everywhere in between), neat divisions in time are now eroding, too.
Even if you do still have an actual office where you commute every day, you have probably experienced how these lines have softened simultaneously: You’ve walked out of your building and into the subway, pulled out your phone, and gone right back to triaging email.
These sweeping shifts in where and when work takes place have been brought about by much more than just the Internet. Credit the portable laptop and the smartphone, WiFi and fiber optic infrastructure, computer security from VPNs, high-quality teleconferencing and the cloud. As for your computer itself? “It’s just a shell,” says Adam Stoltz, a real estate workplace strategist based in Washington. “It’s the thing that enables me to get to the data.”
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