Tracking the future of remote workplaces: Apps, communication, and liability

Must work-from-homers always rely on a such a patchwork suite of apps?

Enlarge / Must work-from-homers always rely on a such a patchwork suite of apps? (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

When it comes to predicting the future of technology these last 20 years, Ars has had its occasional slam-dunk predictions mixed in with some admittedly uneven guesses. So I’m lucky to begin this article with a no-brainer conclusion: over the next five years, more offices and businesses across the globe will increase their reliance on work-from-home systems.

In other news, water is wet and bears defecate in the woods. In our connected world, computers are a likely common tool at almost any workplace—arguably they’re more of a given than even having to be in a particular place. So long as you log in, get your work done, and communicate with colleagues, your computer can be on Mars for all your boss cares.

But how will more companies take the remote-workplace plunge, and what trends will emerge as a result? That’s a tougher prediction to make, but I’ve been asked to poke my head out of my Tech Culture Editor cave to offer some answers based on my knowledge as an Ars staffer for six years—and as a “remote” worker for even longer than that. How long? My first job, in 1996, revolved around working from home as a newspaper columnist (my mom’s home, to be accurate, since I was still in high school).

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