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Orange predicts death of bosses and birth of P2P offices

The future's bright, the future lacks a CEO

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Orange has been studying how we'll be working over the next decade or two, and apparently we'll be dumping the CEO but not all working from home.

The analysis - entitled Connected Britain - is more downbeat than previous efforts, no doubt reflecting a slightly-less-optimistic economy. But the document (pdf) is much more than just comedy maps about migration. Orange predicts that by 2020 companies won't have head offices, or CEOs, but despite that most of us will still spend most of our time in a traditional office setting, as we like it there.

This Orange future sees prestigious office sites disappearing, along with the CEOs that run them, and employees becoming more distributed. It might seem obvious that home working would achieve that, but when questioned only 20 per cent of office workers actually wanted to work from home all the time, though another 67 per cent would like to work from home sometimes. The office might appear inefficient, but in fact it's where the majority of people prefer to work for the majority of the time.

They would, however, like their office to be closer to their home. 40 per cent of office workers have moved house to get closer to their job, and only four per cent have decided where to live on the basis of family and friends.

Orange reckons a third of the UK population is sitting in an office right now, with 37 percent involved in roles such as teaching and nursing. The report doesn’t mention the other 30 percent: we're assuming they're blue collar and don't use enough communication services to warrant more attention.

This study involved questioning more than 3,000 office workers, as well as a larger group of non-office-based workers. Orange also talked to assorted boffins and futurologists to create a picture of how people might be working in ten years time.

Orange does these studies every now and then, primarily for their own benefit though most are published in some form or other. Communication services need long-term investments, so Orange tries to work out what the market is going to want in the long term - much to the amusement of everyone else.

So the future is about small offices, spread around the place, with thick pipes linking them all together. At least, that's how Orange sees it. ®

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