The traditional office as we know it will be obsolete in the next 20 years, as technology facilitates an evolved workspace that supports a more flexible way to doing business.
That’s if the results of a Virgin-commissioned survey conducted by YouGov are anything to go by. Findings showed that when it came to workers aged 55 and older, 7% of those surveyed strongly agreed and 42% tended to agree that ‘offices would be a thing of the past’, with the majority agreeing this would most likely be the case in the next 20 years.
These results support Virgin founder, Richard Branson’s, predictions for the future of the traditional office: “In 30 years’ time, as technology moves forward even further, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed,” says Branson in his column, One day offices will be a thing of the past.
Branson’s long been an advocate of flexible work approaches, including virtual and remote offices.
But he’s not the only one; Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and CEO, and founder and CEO of mobile payments company Square, was dubbed the CEO without an office by CBS News after he told the network in an interview, “I don’t have an office, and I don’t have a desk, I just have an iPad”.
These sentiments point to a growing global trend by corporates the world over, to abandon rigid topographies, including traditional office leases, in favour of smaller, more flexible work spaces. Serviced office space is fast becoming the preferred way to conduct business around the world.
Traditionally, serviced office spaces were the sole domain of start-up businesses, cost-conscious entrepreneurs and frequent business travelers.
But now, even the most unlikely players want a piece of the full-serviced office pie. Financial firms, banks, IT outfits and even multinational companies in Europe, Asia, the US and South America are clamouring onto the co-working bandwagon, and taking advantage of not only the significantly reduced financial overheads associated with this model, but also the improved opportunities for collaboration.
In South Africa, we at Flexible Workspace are definitely seeing an increase in the uptake of our co-working and virtual office spaces – across all sectors of industry.
The fact is, any business – irrespective of its size of stature – can benefit from a fully equipped operational office space. An upmarket serviced office means a professional receptionist, an experienced administrative team and complete access to copiers, printers, fax machines, scanners, ADSL connectivity and fully furnished board rooms for meetings – all accessed at a fraction of the cost compared to that incurred when operating a conventional office.
There’s no doubt, the beginning of the end of the traditional office has begun. Digital-nomad-savvy spaces will soon be the order of the day, facilitated by the professionally managed full serviced work space.
By Brad Porter