Hello Cloud Storage, Goodbye Rolodex (and Other Workplace Trends)

LinkedIn names the top workplace trends and items headed for obsolescence--and also lists what's becoming mainstream. Here's a look at those items, plus three tips for ensuring you don't go the way of the fax machine.

Wed, September 26, 2012

CIO — Is your office strict about employees working 9 to 5? Still use a desktop computer and rely on your Rolodex? Those—and more—are office trends that professionals believe will disappear within five years, according to a new LinkedIn report.

LinkedIn surveyed more than 7,000 professionals worldwide to find out which tools and trends in the workplace are becoming obsolete—and which will be common in the workplace five years from now.

Topping the list of items and trends moving toward obsolescence are tape recorders (79 percent), fax machines (71 percent), the Rolodex (58 percent), standard working hours (57 percent) and desk phones (35 percent).

Other trends and items rounding out the list include the following: formal business attire (27 percent); office logistics, such as the corner office for managers and executives (21 percent), cubicles (19 percent), offices with doors (16 percent) and open workspaces (7 percent).

Respondents also predict that common items such as USB thumb drives (17 percent), business cards (15 percent), copiers (13 percent), resumes (11 percent) and printers (6 percent) are also heading toward extinction.

What tools, trends and technology will replace them? Tablets, cloud storage, flexible working hours, telecommuting, web-based documents, enterprise social networking, casual dress and open workspaces top the list of trends responders think will be common in the workplace five years from now.

LinkedIn Connection Director Nicole Williams says that to avoid the fate of many of these disappearing items, professionals should focus on these three things:

1. Be the expert. Williams says that every professional should assume he or she is dispensable: "While this reality can be very scary, it can also be really motivating when you start to wrap your head around the strategies and technology available to help you make it to the top of your professional food chain."

[Poll: How would you build your perfect office space?]

To do this, Williams recommends branding yourself as an expert, which involves two steps: Start by accumulating meaningful information from resources and experiences—the more you know, the better. Then, share your knowledge and experiences with others.

"Whether it be in a meeting, around the water cooler or via a LinkedIn Group discussion, the more informed you are, the more likely you are to be bestowed with legitimate expert ranking from both your peers and a Google search," she says.

2. Be visible. Barricading yourself in your office from 9 to 5 every day won't do you any good, Williams says. Instead, be sure to make yourself visible and available—both in person and online.

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