What even is a virtual office? I suspect that it’s just, like, a laptop with some pricey cloud-based software on it. That’s all well and good, but I’m wary of how this type of terminology is applied in practice. I mean, there are certain elements of the old fashioned, bricks-and-mortar office that are there for a reason, and I have to wonder if corporations will use this ‘virtual’ concept to create exploitative working conditions.
Maybe I’m reading too far into it. I don’t doubt that virtual offices have many plus-points, like enabling people to work more flexibly and balance their lives a bit more easily. I guess I’m all about people having options. I mean, if you have easy access to your workplace and it’s a better working environment than you’d have at home, of course you’re going to preference the physical office. Likewise, if your home or a nearby space is more conducive to your work, that’s going to be your pick.
Here in Melbourne, office fitouts tend to be pretty pleasant – lots of natural light, open layouts, up-to-date tech features, ergonomic furnishings and more original branding concepts than you can poke a stone-milled sourdough loaf at. In short, I can’t see too much risk of offices trending towards the virtual in the near future. I’m just anticipating the AI apocalypse, I guess, when we’ll all be confined to our dark boxes of isolation, strapped inescapably to our screens.
This is a worst-case scenario, of course, but I think it’s important to advocate for IRL office interiors. Melbourne people, what do you think? What features of your work environment are non-negotiable for you? Would you prefer to connect in the virtual realm? Are you positively ecstatic to get micro-chipped and submit to the supremacy of our synthetic overlords?
Just joking. Maybe you’d be keen to reclaim an extra hour in the morning for yoga, and working virtually would allow you to do that. Or maybe your commute is the only thing getting you off the couch. I’m sure everyone’s different, at the end of the day.