If you look around for a moment, it doesn’t take long to see the signs that exponential growth in technology has made many changes in our lives. Our personal and professional lives have sustained a tremendous level of change, in part because of the advent of new ways of doing things. Depending on your perspective, and what has changed for you; not everything may be seen as advancements.

One of the most evident changes from my perspective is the way the office space has changed. I have worked in a nontraditional office for over 20 years, and when I look back at how we use to do things and compare it to today, it’s been quite a transformation. Here is an excerpt from the book I am currently writing that discusses the effect that technology is having on our personal and professional lives. These paragraphs explore this similar discussion using my personal experience.

I remember when I first transitioned from an ICU Nurse to Medical Sales. I started working for a great company called Kinectic Concepts, Inc. based out of San Antonio, TX. I had a position as a Clinical Account Executive which was someone with the clinical background to work with customers in a hospital environment, and responsible for moving the sales relationship along too. I vividly remember getting my first car phone, it was not a cell phone, because it could only be used in the car. It was about the size of a kids lunchbox and required a large magnetic external antenna on the roof of my car and had to be plugged into the cigarette lighter to operate. The only thing it did was call other phones. That’s it. No calculator, voicemail or camera. It also had no colors or display screen with the time and date. It was strictly a car phone, done. We had pagers as well.

This was 1994 and I was traveling West Michigan’s hospitals with nothing but a car phone and a pager. It seems like the dark ages when I think back to it. I had a collection of map books in my car, a work calendar, calculator, lots of cheat sheets I had made for the price lists, and phone numbers I needed to get my work done. My car was also filled with a sampling of each of our marketing pieces which made it difficult to fit anything else. At the time, I thought I had become part of the business machine and was operating on the cutting edge, and for the most part I was. The simple innovation of the carphone and pager had made it possible for teams of people to cover a much larger geography and in my case this was the beginning of learning to unplug from an office.

10 Things Our Smartphones Replaced in the Modern Office

  1. Fax Machine
  2. Scanner
  3. Answering Machine
  4. Pager
  5. Maps & GPS Devices
  6. Trips to the bank
  7. Printing & mailing invoices
  8. Postage printing devices
  9. Calculator
  10. Business Research Library

In my book, I go on to discuss some of the other changes that technology and change itself have made on our personal and professional lives. The smartphone has brought tremendous change in how many working professionals get the business of business done on a daily basis. The 24/7 internet connectivity and specialized apps have completely revolutionized the concept of “the office”. Many barriers in place for working in a nontraditional office have come tumbling down. Now, a smartphone, laptop, printer, and wifi can meet almost all of your needs.

The real question is how will the office of tomorrow continue to change? We have seen some of the next phase start already. Most of our computer services will be cloud based, and the trend to have personal data storage will go by the wayside. I have seen the boom in this concept over the past couple years with Google Apps, Salesforce, QuickBooks, and other banking and tax services moving to cloud-based platforms. The Google Car and others like it will eventually transform the morning commute for people who work in congested big cities. No longer will that time behind the wheel be marginally productive. Currently, drivers are restricted to listening to books, music or podcasts if they aren’t on the phone with friends or clients. With a robotic car, we could be just as productive while driving to an office or client as we are in our office. This advancement could benefit families that currently lose a great deal of personal time by one or more members having a long commute. Like the smartphone, future technological advances will continue to blur the lines between work and home life and make it easier for us to use our own creative approach to achieve success.