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Trend Alert: Do You ΓÇ£OfficeΓÇ¥?

Trend Alert: Do You ΓÇ£OfficeΓÇ¥?

Do you “office”? Not sure? Actually, you probably do…

WeΓÇÖre not normally big on linguistic trends but we couldnΓÇÖt let this one pass without commenting on it. WeΓÇÖve spotted people starting to use the word ΓÇ£officeΓÇ¥ as a verb. As in:

ΓÇ£So where do you office?ΓÇ¥

ΓÇ£Oh, IΓÇÖm officing at home today, but I usually office at our HQ in London.ΓÇ¥

You get the idea.

Whether you like the change in use or not, itΓÇÖs an interesting indicator of the way our relationship to the office is changing. As Steve Purdy, managing director of Regus recently pointed out, work is shifting from a place we go to a thing we do.

Likewise with the office ΓÇô after all, the increasing choice of locations we have for doing our office work may mean that soon, for many, ΓÇ£the officeΓÇ¥ in its traditional sense ΓÇô as a single fixed location ΓÇô will be a thing of the past.

In fact, for many remote workers, thatΓÇÖs already the case. Take the example of the Royston Weekly News in Hertfordshire who made the decision earlier this year to close their main office and replace it with a smaller flexible working hub. Their journalists and sales people now work from home or out on the road, dropping into the hub only occasionally.

They are among a growing number of workers ΓÇô from one-man startups to the employees of multi-million pound corporations ΓÇô who ΓÇ£officeΓÇ¥ at a variety of locations, choosing the one which most suits the tasks to be completed that day.

Their physical ΓÇ£officeΓÇ¥ is nothing more than a laptop computer and a mobile phone, which can be transported to any location and set up within a matter of minutes. Hence ΓÇ£officingΓÇ¥ ΓÇô the act of setting up and working from a particular location, usually on a temporary basis.

If you find this new use of the word irritating, you can blame FedEx. Back when their photocopying and office services venture was known as KinkoΓÇÖs, it had the tagline ΓÇ£The Smarter Way to OfficeΓÇ¥. This was back in the 1990s, in the early days of the World Wide Web. No sooner was mainstream internet technology available, than it began redefining the office.

Doubtless, ΓÇ£officingΓÇ¥ will find plenty of opponents, and who knows if it will make its mark on the language in the long-term; but in a funny way it perfectly sums up how weΓÇÖre changing our relationship to the office right now.

ΓÇ£OfficingΓÇ¥ ΓÇô love it or hate it? WeΓÇÖd love to hear what you think.

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Author: | June 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

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