Alert
Close

Take AARP’s Smart Driver course and you could save money on your car insurance. Learn more

Bits & Bytes
Poll

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

Our World in the Year 2020

Work

The Flexible Future

work

— Viktor Koen

9 A.M. MEETING ALERT!: Your boss is talking, but you're not in the office. You're sipping coffee in your jammies. No problem. You boot up the Telework 3000 and it's as if you're in the conference room. At least you think so — you haven't been there since 2017, when you traded your E-Z Pass for a houseboat in Hawaii. Now, if you could just ignore the late-night texts from your colleagues.

It might get lonely around the water cooler by 2020. What we call telecommuting will evolve into the "flexible work environment," in which firms let employees work from home on their own schedules. Technology — mobile computers, broadband networks, and immersive, high-definition "telepresence" videoconferencing — will accelerate this long-brewing trend but so will a changing workplace culture. "Companies are finding that workers like to be trusted," says Paul Rowson, managing director of the human resources association WorldAtWork. "Top performers tend to be more productive and more engaged when given a bit of freedom."

This long leash might benefit older workers who can work without managerial oversight. And experienced employees will have lots of company, as more of us expect to work late in life. Avoiding hassles such as commuting will likely hasten a shift from full-time to flextime, rather than retirement. "Maybe you can take that long vacation you always dreamed of and earn a paycheck while you're doing it," says workplace futurist Joanne H. Pratt. But there's a downside to being allowed to work from anywhere: being required to work from anywhere. "As more people become available 24/7, there'll be an expectation that you will be, too," Pratt says. You won't have to go into the office — but you might not be able to get away from it, either.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Technology
Resources

Social Networking

Step-by-step instructions on how to use some of the Web's most popular networking sites. Go

 

How to Use Your PC

Guides covering everything from setting up your desktop, to getting the most out of Excel. Go

 

Protect Your Digital Life

Keep your computer secure, your web surfing safe, and your inbox spam free with these tips. Go

Discounts & Benefits

Geek Squad Computing

Members save on Geek Squad services with Geek Squad® Tech Support & Guidance for AARP® Members.

AARP Discounts on ADT Companion Services

Members get 20% off NEW installation and activation of ADT® Personal Emergency Response System.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today

Being Social

Featured
Groups

computer questions and tips

Computer Questions & Tips

Pick up some handy how-tos from this savvy group of techies. Discuss

 

Freebies Group

Favorite Websites & Freebies

Share your top sites for interesting information, helpful resources — and free stuff! Discuss