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Death of the Traditional Office

posted by jono in Uncategorized on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

The world of work is changing, and along with it the traditional office. A new study by the Unwired consultancy found many large companies are adopting flexible workplace strategies to save costs. The study, which was commissioned by the office chain Regus, concludes: “In the future, companies will focus their strategy on a more flexible working model, where employees find their own office space… Work is no longer a place you go, it is something you do.”

Interestingly the study made no mention of the concept of coworking and reduced collaboration to the use of technical devices – unsurprising, since it was funded by a business center chain. Instead, the study talks about “virtual work”, “agile working” and “Martini working” as new ways. Nevertheless, the study contains some numbers that may be of interest to coworking spaces.

Only 12 percent of office workers said they would like to work from home, the study found. In reality, only 1.4 percent of workers actually do take up the working-from-home option.

If they could pick their own working location, two-thirds of respondents said they want to be within a 20 minute commute from home, and one in four want to be within ten minutes’ travel. Currently, two out of three workers in large companies spend at least 40 minutes getting to the office, although 63% of these companies say, that they already rolled out new ways of working.

People born in the 80s and 90s, and the millenials who are still in school, are especially put off by traditional offices. 71 percent of respondents said about these age brackets, they would prefer to work “virtually” than in an old-fashioned company office.

The type of collaboration between employees is also expected to change. The network provider Cisco estimates that currently 80 percent of collaborations occur within an enterprise. This statistic is likely to invert, with 80 percent of co-operations taking place between companies, because more people will be working together in flexible teams.

The study came up with the silly-sounding concept of “Martini working”, which borrows an old Martini advertising slogan; “anytime, anyplace, anywhere”. Exactly why an alcoholic beverage was selected to describe the future of work remains the secret of the report’s authors.

The concept of virtual work refers to new forms of communication and cooperation, where the boss isn’t necessarily in the same place or even city as the workers. This, of course, is something that has been growing ever since the invention of telecommunication.