James Robertson has put together a great picture of "the workplace of the future" (said with an appropriately dramatic voice - like this one) in A week in the digital workplace (pdf). He tells the story of a new hire and how she might interact with a well-designed intranet. Many of the elements he describes are already available, while a few of them are a bit of a stretch. A lot of what he describes is basically ready to go. Organizations need to decide to make it happen. I am seeing elements of how this can work really well - and areas where the vision isn't quite there. Not surprisingly, a lot of this has to do with how it is being used / encouraged - or not.
From my perspective, the interesting thing about this narrative is the smooth combination and connection of services that people use: messaging, calendars, information-seeking, etc. The narrative also puts a big emphasis on the way people can / do / should be able to connect with one another in the digital workplace. I particularly like how personal suggestions, requests and comments are simply interwoven into the flow of work - justas they are when you lean across the desk to ask someone a question in person, or you happen to notice a printout of something in which you have expertise. This is the way the "outside" digital world is already working. It's about time that it moved into the organization as well.
This relates closely to how people are using their digital media outside the organization with heavy integration across services that we use all the time: scheduling, networking, information-seeking, and other tools.
Ongoing conversation is at the Step Two blog.