I remember back in the early 90s, I would often think "is it just me, or are almost all office meetings utterly pointless?" It was a kind of lonely pre-internet feeling - it was a thought stuck in my head, unexpressed (for fear of upsetting my boss).
Nowadays, I feel a certain amount of vindication - the world has caught up to my thinking, and agrees with me. There are all kinds of methods to prevent the "pointless meeting" - from forcing people to stand up in meetings (to shorten their length), self-selection meetings (people who genuinely feel the need to go will go), and teleconferencing.
I want to spend the rest of this article talking about the latter technology. Teleconferencing has been a real productivity boon for the average office. It has been coupled with another new phenomenon: telecommuting. Now co-workers can "meet" via web-cams/smartphones and teleconferencing software like Skype. Of course, it means that all members of the meeting don't have to physically be in the same place, thus allowing "impromptu" meetings to occur, such as if a sudden problem arises. In such an example, all the best brains can get together to hopefully solve such problems.
Teleconferencing has also legitimised the idea that people can work from home. Prior to the internet, the idea of working from home would have been an absurdity. The office was a physical place where people got together to communicate with one another and share information in a very physical sense (paperwork, or local computer networks). It was just impractical for anyone NOT to be in the office.
The internet is not really a new development, yet there's been quite a lot of resistence to the idea of telecommuting, largely in part by upper management who feel they may be losing control of the rank and file below them should they not be present in the office. However, I would say that in the last 5 years or so, sentiment is turning. Companies can undercut the competition by even going as far to having NO office, but instead having every employee work from home. They can meet up in a hired venue once a week or so just to "touch base" and enhance the "esprit de corps". Other companies don't need to go so far, but they might allow employees to work from home 2, 3 or 4 days a week. It can add to productivity and make for a happier workforce. If you need to have an emergency meeting, then you can teleconference.
To sum up, technology is making offices more efficient due to the cost-saving aspects they bring. Article kindly provided by junotelecoms.co.uk