Monday, April 8, 2013

Wall St. Journal Validates Prediction about the Future of the "Office"

In our annual predictions this year, we developed a list called Premature deathwatch -- a list of items that we felt would generate coverage proclaiming the death of those actual things.

For example, the Office -- not the NBC sitcom, which will go off the air this year, but the need for offices as we’ve used them. 

Last week, the Wall St. Journal ran an article, "Say Goodbye to the Office Cubicle; Walls Come Down as Many Companies Switch to Layouts Designed to Foster Collaboration," that said that one of the companies that helped "spawn the cubicle craze more than 40 years ago" is "turning a profit these days by trying to kill it off."

Is the cubicle dead yet?

According to the Journal, the trend was first seen about a decade ago and was reinforced by the recent long-term recession.

In the wake of Yahoo's announcement that it would no longer allow employees to work remotely, we're not sure that the office or the cubicle really is dead. On the other hand, we are sure that the way we work has changed, in large part because technology is changing how and where we access corporate data. 

As we wrote in our prediction: "Current technologies like cloud computing and videoconferencing do facilitate working from locations other than from an office, and we’ve seen a steady increase in telecommuting and working from home, leading to articles about tech in bed – but for a lot of jobs, an office will remain necessary." For others, we won't be able to describe them as office workers when they never actually work in an office. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Boston Globe Validates Prediction about H1B Visas Being an Ongoing Story in 2013

As part of our annual predictions for 2013, we said that "Jobs,unemployment, and recruiting and the need for specially-trained employees forspecific industries will be a big story."

Turns out the Boston Globe agrees with us. The Globe's business editor made "Demand rockets for visas to bring in foreign workers" its lead business story today in the print edition. (You can find the article with its online headline:
"H-1B visas predicted to go fast.")

Although unemployment continues to decline, and the rate is still a relatively high 7.6%, the story is that businesses, especially biotechs, continue to have trouble finding skilled employees.

This need for highly skilled employees turns into an immigration and an education story.
I had lunch with a friend yesterday who is discouraged that so many schools in disadvantaged communities are not able to provide their students with the education they need to succeed in today's economy. I
generally stay away from politics on this blog but we clearly need to make sure our schools produce qualified engineers because as a country, we can't stay competitive if we need to recruit from other countries.