Cubicles Disappearing From Workplace
Photograph by Suzanne Kreiter—The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Prediction: Big Companies Will Start Giving up on Offices in 2017

Nov 15, 2016

The staff of Fortune is assembling its predictions for 2017 in our annual feature, the Fortune Crystal Ball, now on newsstands in the December 1 issue of the magazine. Here’s one of our forecasts.

The first to go was the personal office. Then the cubicle bit the dust. Now, even open offices are at risk, as designated seats began to vanish, replaced by “hot desks” that belong to everyone and no one. In 2017, we predict that the slow dissolution of the workplace will reach its natural conclusion, with the first Fortune 100 company deciding to jettison the office altogether. After all, why foot a hefty real estate bill when technology allows workers to do everything from meet, manage projects, share documents, and even trade office gossip (thank you, Slack!) from anywhere in the world?

But even as the office goes fully virtual, a backlash is brewing. Look for upticks in ergonomic complaints as workers hunch over laptops or telecommute from their couches, drop-offs in mentoring as office relationships go long-distance, and a surge in burnouts as employees find themselves literally living at the office.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions