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The office of the past, present and future – part V

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Office space: Less is more – or is it?

Look at the desks. Go on, look more closely. What is the one major difference between the desk of yesteryear and the more modern one?

There you go: it’s the minimalism of the modern one, featuring fewer devices, less paper and less clutter. Thanks to greater computing power, smaller devices can do far more than the first computer which took up an entire room. Your average smartphone or tablet can multi-task in a way that we can only dream of, searching through reams of data and algorithms on Google for some relevant information data while streaming your favorite tune via Spotify, running several apps in the background. With newer, connected and faster technology comes more desk space and a supposedly sleeker and faster working performance – but what does this really say about our working environments and their impact on our working minds and habits?

Well, while the modern desk appears far cleaner, simpler and minimalist, performance still comes down to the individual and their actual role. Yes, information is now more freely and quickly available – at the touch of a screen in fact – but it is also more all-encompassing. You still need to know where to source relevant information from and which sources to trust. In an era where everything supposedly runs much faster and is freely available, we have to be more discerning.

That goes as much for information as for security. The quickest and easiest solution often isn’t the answer. While, in the 80s and 90s, workers would have spent more time on the phone, in face-to-face meetings and researching information in libraries or from trusted sources, which obviously takes more time than quickly searching for something online, they knew they could rely on their channels and methods. They didn’t compromise trust for speed like we regularly do nowadays.

Being minimalist, sleek and tidy is all very well, but without the appropriate security measures in place, this de-cluttered approach falls at the first hurdle. In any working environment, whether in an office, at home, or on the go, any device should have the relevant security in place to allow convenience in your role, but without inviting unintended intruders into your sphere.

Albert Einstein once said: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” While we can’t comment on the creativity levels of the desks from yesteryear compared to today, we can advise that there is some great technology available to run a highly effective desk space. As long as you don’t neglect the need for security. Do you agree? Get involved on Twitter by tweeting us @Gemalto with the hashtag #MyDeskNow and a picture of your desk. Are you creative? Is your workspace cluttered, or minimalist?

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The desktop of the past and near future, imagined by Gemalto in 2013.

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