Looking back a decade or so ago it was absolutely essential to have an office, or more likely, a cubicle. That’s where we had meetings, saw our coworkers, and just got work done. That’s how Jacob Morgan, principal and co-founder of Chess Media Group, a management consulting and strategic advisory firm on the future of work and collaboration, started off his recent Forbes column.
Entitled “8 Indisputable Reasons Why We Don’t Need Offices,” Morgan points to facts and figures about the rising remote workforce before offering up his broader reasoning. I would recommend reading his entire article, but I’ll summarize his key points and how they relate to the business center world.
1. Collaborative technologies
Morgan says new technologies are allowing employees to “connect to work,” meaning that the only thing we need to get our jobs done is an Internet connection.
That’s absolutely true and that’s why your business center needs to pre-install any app, like WebEx, or software that your virtual office or mobile working day office users may choose to tap into.
2. New generation of workers
Morgan notes that Millennials are projected to be the majority of the U.S. workforce by 2020 – just a few years away. This is a generation that is used to being connected.
Again, true. Your business center needs to adapt to the needs of the new generation of employees. That may mean technology, but it may also mean your décor.
3. A more attractive workplace
Morgan says chances are that if you were to ask someone if they would rather work from an office or from their home, they would say their home (or co-working spot). He points to a report his firm released revealing 90% of workers believe that an organization offering flexible work environments is more attractive than an organization that does not.
Is your business center reaching out to CEOs about leveraging your resources in their flexible work model? If not, you should.
4. Companies save money
Morgan says companies spend a massive amount of money on real estate space to house their employees. Companies also have to spend money on office equipment, Internet, amenities, and a host of other things.
True, indeed. This is part of what makes business centers so attractive. It’s a turnkey proposition with no up front investments and no hidden costs. Communicate those advantages to the marketplace.
Morgan’s final reasons are: (5) employees save time; (6) employees are more productive; (7) improved quality of life for employees; and (8) new workplaces. His conclusion: We don’t need to look farther than our personal lives to see why working from an office isn’t always the best approach.
“The point here isn’t to say that face-to-face communication is dead, because it isn’t, and we certainly don’t want to get rid of human contact (at least most of us),” he says. “Instead organizations need to implement more flexible work environments for employees to allow them to decide how they want to work.”
Cloud computing is one of the ways technology is making flexible work environments possible. It’s a good idea having a physical office for your business, but there really is nothing stopping you from allowing workers the ability to work from home, holding conference calls and collaborating with outsourcers.