Everyday millions of us leave the house at some ungodly hour to begin our miserable journey into work. Each of these journeys represents a chunk of our lives that we’re never going to get back. It’s bad for us, bad for those that employ us and incredibly bad for the planet.

Now imagine a world where you are teleported into work. Imagine a world where you share an office with co-workers from all over the world. Imagine an office where you can work unshaven, wearing your grottiest old boxers, but where everyone sees you dressed in Armani.

Second Life, the 3-D virtual world, is providing a glimpse into the future of work as businesses start to explore its enormous potential.
Peter Dunkley of online consultancy, depo consulting, says: “Within five years we believe that virtual offices will be established as a genuine alternative for many businesses. Within 15 years the face of work will be unrecognisable.’’

The virtual office can replicate the real life office in every way. From access to computer systems, filing cabinets, management oversight and even through to office romances and water-cooler moments, all of this can be replicated within the virtual office. The difference, of course, is that no one has had to leave the house and drive into work.

There are immense benefits to this. Killing the daily commute will significantly reduce the negative impact of business on global warming. Companies will benefit through greatly reduced costs, and workers will see a real improvement in the quality of their lives.
Companies are already establishing offices in Second Life.
depo consulting ltd have been using their virtual office for client and internal meetings, presentations and events for three months. They even employed what they believe may be the world’s first virtual consultant following an interview held in their Second Life office. Marissa Meltzer has been working for depo for nearly three months and has never met any of her co-workers in real life.

Says Peter Dunkley: “We had our office designed by a real-life New York architect who has also done work for Woody Allen and Michael Stipe. He leapt at the chance to take advantage of the freedoms of the virtual world, even introducing an underwater coral meeting room where you are surrounded by tropical fish – it certainly beats the average corporate meeting room!

The virtual office addresses one of the core problems of existing home-working by providing a social environment that allows workers and management to experience the benefits of team working and to develop and maintain real relationships.

Says Peter Dunkley, “Strange though it may seem, you relate to people within Second Life as people. A meeting on Second Life is as absorbing as an equivalent meeting in real life.”

Anyone interested in entering the virtual world of Second Life or finding out more about the business park can access free introductory information at www.depoconsulting.com.

Peter Dunkley
telephone: 07713 795563
email: peterdunkley@depoconsulting.com
web: www.depoconsulting.com

Published on: 12:00AM on 12th February 2007