The implacable march of progress pushing all of us forward in a brave new world has left no facet of our lives untouched. COVID-19 reshaped the modern workplace in earth-shaking fashion, but the pandemic hastened an ongoing transformative process underway for a number of years. The workplace, as it has been defined for multiple generations, is in the midst of a epochal sea change in the professional world. Certain jobs, such as those in the service industry, remain precluded from this metamorphosis, but they are exceptions to the rule. The first half of Kane’s book Where Is My Office?: Reimagining the Workplace for the 21st Century concerns itself with laying out his vision of where he thinks the workplace is going, as a concept and physical reality, in a world increasingly reliant on technology.
Kane has a background that inspires your confidence in his ideas. He never betrays a hint of doubt in his prescriptions for the modern workplace thanks, in no small part, to over three decades of experience in the real estate world. He has worked for the Walt Disney Company in the upper echelon of their corporate real estate dealings and occupied a similar position with the BBC for several years. The latter forms a significant portion of the book.
His writing on the BBC’s transition is the shorter of the book’s two parts and covers the communications giant’s transition from analogue to digital. This shift was a monumental change for many organizations worldwide, but Kane shares an unique perspective on how it affected the BBC and its response to the accompanying challenges. It is engrossing reading. This emphasizes again one of the book’s abiding strengths — the incorporation of his professional experiences into the text. It expands the book’s dimensions and, consequently, its merits for its intended audience.
It is true this is aimed for a narrow readership. It, nevertheless, possesses great utility for that intended audience as interested readers will be able to revisit it often for further insights. Where Is My Office isn’t the product of some slick blowhard with a rah-rah message; it makes its case with intelligence, a generous amount of personality, and a wealth of research supporting its thoughts. Kane’s unimpeachable credentials give him a credibility you cannot buy.
His concepts and ideas are shared with readers with clean and relaxed prose that never digresses. The structure he applies to the book keeps readers on track from the first and many will be thankful how Kane incorporates a significant amount of personality into the text rather than taking a drier academic approach. This is a book you should read from beginning to end, it hits with more power that way, but re-reading the book can begin anywhere. It may date in a short time, but Chris Kane’s Where Is My Office?: Reimagining the Workplace for the 21st Century stands now as one of the most important books about the changing workplace and its demands available today. It is ideal for those with a busy schedule and has a surprising amount of depth given its length.