As Australia’s and New Zealand’s telcos look to roll out 5G plans to their customers, we thought we’d look at what impact these speeds will have on the culture of work and collaboration.

We’re use to snail pace speeds down under – 2018 is set to be the year that all changes with the mainstream rollout of 5G data speeds in Australia.

With speeds unshackled and Intel predicting 50 billion connected devices and systems worldwide by that time, we may see the widespread adoption of currently budding technologies like the Internet of Things, connected homes, VR, and even wearables. Big things can happen when big things can be downloaded and uploaded in a flash.

At Dropbox we’re excited to think about what this means for collaboration, creativity, and the general day-to-day communication of a business.

First and most obvious is the increase to the speed of collaboration we can expect. Ideas will be able to be shared quicker, meaning feedback and opinions can be incorporated on the fly, shortening the gap between pen, paper and production.

Videos and larger graphics files will be sharable almost instantaneously, eliminating those anxious moments as deadlines and project gateways loom. We may also see video conferencing integrate itself more seamlessly into the everyday practice of workers – eliminating time travelling to and from different locations and speeding up project turnarounds.

But beyond the day-to-day, incremental improvements, we see a larger shift coming from 5G data speeds – the increasing casualisation of work. We’ve already seen hints of it with progressive countries implementing 6 hour workdays as standard, millennials demanding more flexible working conditions, and the prospect of a three-day weekend.

As physical presence and workplaces become less important, as information can be accessed anywhere and anytime, the expectation from job-seekers will become more and more one of flexibility and freedom. Over time, that’s bound to sculpt the world of work into a place more comfortable with long-distance work arrangements, remote workforces, and flexible hours. Expect with this too a greater sense of accountability and responsibility given to employees – a sort of ‘always on’ culture.

There is one caveat on this very optimistic picture we’ve posited here – as with the early days of 3G and 4G, telcos may not pass on the full speed increase to customers, at least at first, to ensure price increases don’t become astronomical.

Rest assured – as demand increases alongside adoption, those speeds will go up without the prices doing the same. Strap in.