Which "Endangered Species" of Office Equipment Still Lurk in Your Office?

When it comes to office equipment, we tend to get new shiny toys long before we get rid of outdated stuff. This is partly because it’s always a bit nervewracking to toss out the old technology before we’re sure the new gizmo will work, and partly because we’re lazy. It’s sad, but true.

A recent survey by LinkedIn asked 7,000 professionals which of their office tools and trends will disappear completely by 2017. Here were the winners:

1. Tape recorders (79 percent)

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Forget about those bulky old recorders or even the sleek new digital models. Pretty soon, we’ll probably be using apps for that — on our smartphones, where we keep everything from our calendar to baby photos.

2. Fax machines (71 percent)

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This technology can’t leave fast enough for most of us. Anyone who’s ever spent the bulk of an afternoon trying to persuade this dinosaur to send their message will be happy to trade it for digital transmission. Let’s be honest: we’d just as soon use passenger pigeons. It would be less trouble.

3. The Rolodex (58 percent)

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We can’t even remember the last time we saw one of these, but it was probably on TV. Physical Rolodexes are rapidly being replaced by any number of online organizers.

4. Standard working hours (57 percent)

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This is either great news or the worst news ever, depending on what you mean by “standard working hours.” If we’re talking about having a flexible schedule, then hooray! But if we’re referring to working at all hours of the day and night, then a big fat boo.

5. Desk phones (35 percent)

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At our last job, a coworker’s desk phone rang. Instead of picking up, she just stared at in horror for a full minute as it rang and rang. You would have thought it was a live grenade. Afterward, she confessed she didn’t even know how to answer the phone anymore. “I even text my 70-year-old mother,” she said.

6. Desktop computers (34 percent)

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These have been fading out for years. First, laptops replaced desktops. Now, tablets are replacing laptops. Pretty soon, we’ll just stand in the middle of the floor and draw on the air like Tom Cruise in “The Minority Report.”

7. Formal business attire like suits, ties, pantyhose, etc. (27 percent)

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Pantyhose and ties were invented by the devil. Good riddance to this stuff. Bring on working in our jammies!

8. The corner office for managers/executives (21 percent)

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CEOs like Meg Whitman and public officials like NYC Mayor Bloomberg already work out in the open with all their employees. And with the rise of open plan offices, expect more and more top executives to join the cubicle revolution. It saves money, and makes it look like a fairer and more communicative workplace.

9. Cubicles (19 percent)

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See previous re: open offices. Many are now a combination of cubicles and open areas. As time goes on, expect more open space and fewer walls of any kind. It’s just good sense for the bottom line, and everyone’s pretty invested in that these days.

10. USB thumb drives (17 percent)

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Now that we can store all our information in the cloud, there’s no need to put things on thumb drives. In the future, expect to see one million Etsy projects involving old thumb drives, decoupaged and turned into keychains.

Of course, if you want to replace some of your worn out stuff before 2017, drop us a line. We’ll bring you up-to-date for a fraction of the price you’d expect.

Images: psd/Flickr, Abhisek Sarda/Flickr, campelj45ca/Flickr , ARendle/Flickr, foleymo/Flickr, flickrsven/Flickr, laverrue/Flickr, Axle/Flickr , ilamont/Flickr, robertnelson/Flickr

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