September 18, 2015

Remember when we had to work in offices?

“We can’t let our employees work from home, or they won’t work hard.” Managers tell me this often, at which point I tell them to fire those employees immediately. If the only thing that is preventing someone from devolving into a Netflix binge-watching slacker is the physical geography of your office, you’ve hired the wrong person.

In 20 years, we’ll laugh at the idea that work could only be accomplished in a cubicle after a soul-crushing commute and aggressively terrible break-room coffee. (Software developers realized the folly of this in 2002, but we refused to listen.) The office will never completely die, and face-to-face interaction will forever offer things virtuality cannot, but the office will transform into an occasional reconnection point, not a five-days-a-week destination.

Instead of saying, “I’ve got to go to work,” we’ll say, “I’ve got to work,” and then we will—wherever it is that we find ourselves.

Acuff is a career expert and the author of Do Over

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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