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What can you do in a cubicle that you can't in a cafe?

More and more people are dropping the desk gig for a better office outfit.

More and more people are dropping the desk gig for a better office outfit. In fact, the widespread use of smartphones, laptops and PDAs means many don’t even go into the office at all. As office work shifts, so do the workplaces behind it, and businesses have begun to smarten up about the widespread potential for work outside the office.

Richard Laermer, author of 2011: Trendspotting for the Next Decade, noticed this phenomenon early on.

“As soon as (businesses) realized it was cheaper to not have people stay at the office, they did it,” jokes Laermer. But he’s right. Offices have to pay for the real estate for desks, conference rooms, lounges and kitchens.

“It’s hard for companies to afford space for people when people don’t really need space to work in,” he explains.

Working outside the office is better for employees, too. When staffers aren’t tied to the office to do their work, they can be more universally committed — the lines between work life and home life become blurred. Being able to work on your own terms means you can work whenever you are most productive.

Laermer says that in the alternative workplace “You think better, somebody’s not looking over your shoulder (figuratively or literally), and you can choose what interruptions come to you — these are very healthy things.”

The author’s only concern comes from the productivity offices have through working together.

“In order to get things done, you need to brainstorm,” he says. “How does the employer get people to come to the office for those meetings if they don’t have to?”

The latest trend is to hire a “social director that plans things for people to come into the office so they can see each other,” Laermer says.

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