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THE concept of a central work location is starting to become outdated, with new technologies providing Internet-savvy employees with the opportunity to ‘web-work’ from alternative locations.

While the move towards web-work has already started, members of the information technology field predict it will not be too long before the trend becomes almost standard, thereby forcing employers to deal with employee trust issues.

Web-working can be as simple as emailing documents back and forth, yet group-ware, whiteboarding, video and three-dimensional imaging technologies that allow employees to work together in real time are now available.

Using group-ware programs, employee teams can work on documents at the same time, with changes made on the screen of one computer appearing instantaneously on all others to which it is connected.

Similarly, employees can draw on whiteboards linked to computers and have those diagrams and notes appear on the computer screens of others.

Video technology allows employees to communicate face to face, while emerging three-dimensional imaging technology allows employees to not only see each other, but also to see each other manipulating computer generated three-dimensional images.

These technologies are now in their infancies but, as they evolve, the need for employees to be physically present at a central office will diminish.

SMS consultant Sue Jefferies, who holds a Masters in the field of Location Independent Collaborative Work, said the developing technologies meant employees would be able to work almost anywhere and, in light of the benefits of web-working, would soon start requesting their employers let them do so.

“There are big savings in terms of travel costs and the strain that travel can put on people, particularly after September 11,” Ms Jefferies said.

“It also means no parking

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