Stepping into the Anywhere Workplace, Part 1

First day of my paperless life
January 18, 2016
Paperless wins and near disaster
January 26, 2016

Stepping into the Anywhere Workplace, Part 1

JasperPlaceLibrary03What better place to write about the anywhere workplace than… anywhere but the workplace? In order to find a nice distraction-free space in which to work on this week’s article, I’ve taken up residence at my local branch of the public library… quiet, power for the laptop (just in case), and free wifi. A very forward thinking library, they even let me bring in my coffee. As is the case for an increasing number of workers, it could just as easily be the coffee shop down the street, a home office, or sitting in a parking lot waiting to pick up the kids from school or practice.

JasperPlaceLibrary02But even in “the olden days,” people brought work home from the office, so what’s different now? Perhaps the more remarkable change is that, sitting here in the library, I’m still working with a colleague back at the office, discussing this article and seeing her edits appear in the last paragraph even as I write this one. I’m not just bringing my work with me, it’s effectively the whole workplace.

Now with a decent start on this article under my belt, I quickly pack up my gear and head to my next appointment. Meanwhile, my colleague’s comments and edits keep flowing in. Something she says triggers a new idea and I make another quick edit on my smartphone before heading into my meeting…

In most major urban centers in North America, the tools and infrastructure finally exist to make the anywhere workplace a practical reality. So how can you make it happen, and more importantly, is it the right thing for your company?

devicesFirst you need the right tools for bridging the gap from the office to the anywhere workplace. Most people think hardware and software but there’s a critical third tool that can’t be overlooked: corporate policiesIn Part 2 of this article, we will look at the software and infrastructure side of things, then corporate policies in Part 3, the elements that connect the anywhere workplace together. But let’s start with a quick rundown on the hardware side of things.

Finding the right hardware is becoming both a much simpler and much more complex challenge.

It’s much simpler in that the software will pretty much work with any hardware. Think of your hardware as your vehicle and your software as cargo bins for the stuff you really care about, your content. Used to be that you could only use custom bins that only fit certain kinds of content in certain vehicles. Nowadays, whether you’re driving the computer equivalent of a motorcycle (smartphone), compact (tablet), sedan (laptop), or pickup truck (workstation), the ‘cargo bins’ and ‘cargo’ can swap between ‘vehicles’ relatively easily.

It’s more complex in that you now have so many choices. While getting a computer at work once meant basically only one thing… a beige tower tied to a physical location and one set of software… now it’s laptops, mobile workstations, tablets, and towers. Mac or PC? Ford or Honda? Do you need a motorcycle or pickup truck?

In order to make the right choice in hardware, you’ll need to take a step back and look at what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish. What’s your cargo? Where does it need to go? Then you can figure out the best way to get it there.

And picking the hardware is only one part of the puzzle. Next, the software and infrastructure you need in Part 2 and corporate policies in Part 3 of Stepping into the Anywhere Workplace.

Winston Pei
Winston Pei has made a career of telling stories and introducing people to new ideas and environments, which at CompuVision his children referred to as being a "nerd to non-nerd translator." When not in the field helping customers, he served as CompuVision’s inhouse design and communications specialist. He holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Alberta, where he studied the intersection of design and technology in the history of the book.


  1. […] pick up the vehicle metaphor from Part 1 of this series on the anywhere workplace, I have the right containers to hold the cargo I need in the vehicle I’m in, plus the roads […]

  2. […] things I’m learning in my quest to get more organized is more about the double-edged sword called the anywhere workplace. Writing this blog post while waiting around for my vehicle is an excellent example of both the […]

  3. […] enough for an employee who’s looking for flexibility in their work style? That is where the anywhere workplace can come in. With the right cloud technology in place, you can connect to the best talent wherever […]

  4. […] were scheduled to work on some website updates from their living room (the whole other magic of the anywhere workplace) but I’d forgotten my laptop at home… again. No problem. I just hopped on their laptop, pulled […]

  5. […] Stepping into the Anywhere Workplace, Part 1 […]

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