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. »