Hopefully sooner than later virtual offices (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_office) will be common work place for many people that currently commute to work to stay all day in front of a computer and next to a phone.
My dream of a virtual office is to have the daily choice to work from home or go to this co-working spaces where you meet people with completely different background and doing something different from what you do.
For this to come true, and in my field as an IT consultant, there are some things that would need to change:
- short effective (regular) meetings using state-of-art tools to combine video-conference, whiteboard and shared computer screens.
- clients need to be able to add temporary accesses to their internal network from a known outside source, so the consultant can either SSH or RDP the necessary machines.
In order this to come true, both management, security and technical sides of the companies need to agree and change the way they act today. A closed environment is not anymore possible.
Yes, I also see dangers on this solutions. Companies can start using people from cheaper countries to perform the work that, until now, was done by someone local. But this is already true in my world: some companies hire consultants from France to work couple of days in Switzerland. However Swiss companies luckily prefer people living locally (not necessarily Swiss), I believe because of the state of mind you have when living in the region with a compatible salary and way of living.
By the way, existing shared-office places in Geneva: