Working like it's 1999

It's almost impossible for me to get through new year festivities without thinking of Prince's 1999. This year though it made me realize something; a lot of people are still working like it's 1999.

Seriously, think about how you communicated in the office 11 years ago. You were probably using Microsoft Word, email, the telephones and fax machines to communicate. You were probably going into work every day, commuting, attending meetings, and doing whatever it is that you do.

Are you really working any differently than you did in 1999?

You may work on a faster computer, with a faster internet connection, and you might be making cooler stuff. You're certainly being distracted in new ways and talking to your friends in new ways. But most likely, when it comes to communicating and collaborating with people on your projects, there's a good chance you're doing it the same way you did a decade ago.

Why?

In a world where my mom who "hates computers" is video chatting with my kids over Skype, why don't more companies have a distributed workforce? Why does your conference room have a phone instead of a video phone? (If you even need a conference room at all.) Why are contracts still signed with ink? Why are we using fax machines for anything? Why isn't everyone in a company using some sort of collaboration tool for everything? Why doesn't every department inside your company have a blog about the things they're working on?

We all have amazing tools at our disposal that allow us to get more done in less time. They can can free us from daily commutes, allow us to search for (and work with) talent from around the world, and in so many ways improve every aspect of our daily working lives.

Maybe if we start working like it's 2010, we'll be able to party like it's 1999.