Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Changing World of Work: What will Your Office look like in 5 Years?

Will it even be in an office? Or will it be a park bench or maybe a stool in a “drop in work zone.” Forget videoconferencing, will our meetings take place through imaginary avatars? Will there be “full time” positions at companies with benefits, or will we be “contractors” hired when needed? Will the cost of fuel, environmental pressure on companies to reduce their carbon footprint and office space use, turn our homes into a place where we work and live?

These questions are not so far reaching. We have already seen the emergence of the “third place.” This is a place that people work “in between” the corporate office and their home. Since when did it become appropriate to hold meetings in coffee shops?
Work on the go is the new norm. Enabled by technology and supported by workers’ desire to have flexibility, companies have now adopted “alternative workplace strategies”.

The added bonus for companies is that it is also saving them money, A LOT of money! A recent study showed that 60% of all office space sits empty when you factor in travel, meetings, sick days, lunch etc. Companies that have adopted a “virtual workplace,” or hotelling, have been able to save $7500 per worker annually for those workers that now have an unassigned seat.

Time Magazine reported that 80% of office workers wanted greater flexibility. The majority are independent knowledge workers and entrepreneurs. They represent 26% of the workforce today and 40% in 2019.

Many road warriors and free agents choose to work from the road or home as a lifestyle choice, and there has been a paradigm shift in how we view this type of “officing”. Once seen as “you poor loser, you can’t afford an office,” they are now seen as “you lucky bleep-bleep, you get to work the way you want!”

And size doesn’t matter! The size of your office was a sign of status, today it is a sign of age. The new way of working says “why? and wasteful”.

Companies looking to cut costs and reduce their use of space, technology enabling us to work anywhere, and workers wanting greater flexibility has resulted in a greater use of business centers, and it will continue to grow.

Years ago business centers/serviced offices/executive suites were seen as “temporary space” for small and start-up companies that could leverage the support services provided. Today, not only do we service entrepreneurs and growing companies, but we have now become part of the real estate strategy for large corporations and a critical component to the distributed workplace model.

Business centers have also evolved in the services they provide and the programs they offer. Quest Workspaces recognizes the increased need for agility and flexibility and our mantra is to enable our clients to “work the way they want.” No two programs or solutions are alike; each is tailored to our clients’ desires.

In 20 years of providing flexible office solutions I have never seen so many drivers changing the way we work. It has literally become the “wild west” in office space. It is a new frontier, with new rules in which innovation will flourish.