In the 1980's many companies spent millions of dollars on expensive pieces of real estate. Now they are moving to cheaper, purpose-built, out of town sites or are letting part of their headquarters buildings. They have found that they no longer need huge buildings to carry out their business - what they need are offices, which are small, compact and high-tech.

Through technology, companies are becoming flexible, mobile and changeable. However if all the possibilities created by new technology are to be taken up, attitudes clearly need to change. If you are more productive working at home then that is where you should work. The trouble is that managers rarely examine just how productive they are - instead they equate being busy with productivity. In the information age they couldn't be more wrong.

Creating an office fit for the 1990's is not simply a matter of moving site. Inside the office the lines of desks have gone, to be replaced by desks which people share, using them as and when needed. This is known as "hot desking".

It has been shown that users get up from their desks on average 15 times a day to make photocopies, send faxes or collect information they have printed out. Now Rank Xerox has developed a combined digital copier, fax and printer. Such multi-functional machines represent the future of the office - and of the desk.

In addition each person is likely to have a notebook computer which is now light and powerful. It contains appointment software, phone numbers, calendar and calculator, and can be linked up to CD-ROM's.

The message to the "new" managers is loud and clear. Forget about status, size, colour and position of your desk. Instead, invest in a large, sturdy briefcase capable of holding an entire filing system. Then you will be able to hot-desk with the best.

British Airways, Business Magazine, November 1995

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