Sony Ericsson's vision of our future working environment is a Friends-style coffee shop, or our own living room, with comfy sofas and smart laptops connected to our home wireless networks.

The study Business Life 2020 written by James Harkin, an expert on social trends, states that most of the UK's offices will become nothing more than lounges containing wireless hotspots.

The report will find support from the Department of Trade and Industry, which is backing the working-from-home lifestyle.

"Using technology to work away from the traditional office environment has the potential to bring a wide range of benefits to both employers and employees. It is important that these benefits are realised and exploited fully," said employment relations minister Gerry Sutcliffe.

According to figures from the DTI, around two million people already work away from the office using new technologies, such as wireless networks, tablet PCs and laptops. This figure is increasing by an estimated 400,000 people per year. From 1997 to 2001 the number of home workers increased by 65 percent.

Sony has even developed a term for this new breed of flexible workers: Cosmocrats. These nomadic employees will rely on wireless technologies, taking advantage of hotspots around the globe as they move from place to place.

The report coincides with today's launch of Sony's GC79 PC modem card, which utilises WLAN 802.11b offering a connection distance of 100m (300ft) from access point.

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