The ten business gadgets that are about to disappear

Fond of your fax machine? Devoted to your desktop PC? Not for long. A new survey from business networking site LinkedIn has pinpointed the ten things that are soon to disappear from offices across the world - forever.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Are business cards really on the way out? Are suits oh-so-last century? This seems to be the consensus from the 7,000 global professionals surveyed by LinkedIn. When asked which technologies and work practices were most likely to disappear in the next five years, these tech-savvy executives rang the death knell for these ten...

1. Tape recorders

Some of you may be thinking, 'Tape recorders?! Didn't they die out in the ninteies?'. However, MT would like to point out that our own editor Matthew Gwyther still has one on standby in case his newfangled recorder fails. In any case, in the top spot on this 'soon to be doomed' list, 79% of professionals think that the tape recorder is all chewed up.

2. Fax machines

As anyone who has had to deal with an estate agent or lawyer recently can attest, there are a few industries hanging stubbornly on to the humble fax machine. However, apps like Genius Scan (which turns any photo into an emailable PDF) are slowly rendering the old facsimile redundant. At least according to 71% of you.

3. The Rolodex

When MT used to play 'executive PA' as a precocious six-year-old, nothing was more crucial to the game than the borrowed Rolodex, crammed with cut up birthday cards and minicab numbers. Kids these days prefer the iPad, and CRM databases, smartphones and even business card scanners pick up the slack for the grown-ups, so 58% of you reckon the Rolodex is doomed.

4. Standard working hours

The nine to five is on its way out. Despite Yahoo! introducing draconian measures on flexible working, the rest of the world has moved on. Some 57% of those surveyed have already consigned the old working regime to the annals of history.

5. Desk phones

Mobile is the future. Around 35% of you believe that the workplace of 2014 and beyond will see more and more desk phones hit the scrap heap. On the plus side, this means never having to press your face against that germ-infested receiver again (studies show that desk phones host more bacteria than many loo seats) but the downside is that you will never be able to escape those outside-work-hours calls. Oh wait, there are no more work hours... [See #4].

At number six, 34% of you reckon desktop computers are dead gadgets walking, while at seven, 27% of professionals have declared formal business attire like suits, ties, etc 'so over'. Next on the LinkedIn list, the corner office for managers/executives is a relic of a bygone age for 21% of you, with cubicles (sometimes known as 'prison cells' by their inmates, ahem, workers...) at number nine. And edging in at number ten, a surprise entry: the USB drive. According to LinkedIn's survey, 17% of you give the thumb stick the thumb's down. However, business cards didn’t quite make it onto the top ten (they came 12th), so if you've just got a new stack printed, you're safe. For now.

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