An Office Without Phones

by Colin Berkshire

Colin here…

I have written a few times about how I am seeing our office use phones less and less. We’re seeing a steady decline in the number of minutes and number of calls. It’s a slow but steady reduction.

I have a good friend who owns a very successful, growing high-tech company. With sales in the 8-figures they are moving into new offices this month. So i talked with him about what office trends he was seeing and what they were doing for communications. I was especially interested because he is always on the cutting edge of things.

His answer floored me…

Half of the staff will not have phones at their desks. This includes all of the software engineering staff.

I didn’t see this one coming, I have to admit.

They talked about what would make their new offices better and the number one issue turned out that people wanted to work uninterrupted. They wanted to get something done, and then move on to the next task or person. One-thing at a time, with a chance to think and organize.

After a lot of discussion, they decided to not have phones at most people’s desks. They have IM and email and that’s enough. Wow.

The sales and customer service people and anybody that interfaces with incoming callers will get a phone. But most people in accounting, operations, and engineering are opting to be phone-free.

It wasn’t a matter of cost. The company is enormously profitable. And, I spoke with him about how you can install a unified communication PBX system for about $100 per extension. No, it wasn’t a matter of cost. It was about interruptions and focus.

This is the first time I have heard of a company going this route. I can’t say it is a trend. But there is nothing really different about this company from any other. I suppose you don’t really need a phone with email.

I am still trying to wrap my brain around this one. Surely there is a reason that every office needs a phone.