Author: Kevin Giriunas - Founder of Advent Coworking
Whether you had to morph a space in your home to be an ‘office’ or you’re still commuting everyday to work, it is unclear at this moment what the future of the workspace will be for most of us. Unfortunately, not all workspaces are created equal. Some of us have soundproof rooms with the most cutting edge technology to crush our Zoom meetings. Other home offices get to enjoy the nuances of life: animals, children, neighbors, family, dishes, and package delivery door bells disrupting productivity and important meetings on a daily basis. Some people yearn for the return to the office while others want to be remote for the rest of their career. Some people hated their commute to work but now miss their coworkers. The future of the workspace is complicated.
Even with being heavily involved in the workspace industry, I do not see a clear path to productivity and happiness for everyone. What I do see are some commonalities across studies, surveys, and research papers doing their best to predict what our workspaces will be. I would like to share my opinion of ‘the future of the office’ with you if you can spare 3 minutes between Zoom calls and barking dogs.
I believe the majority of office headquarters will adopt a hybrid office model requiring employees to work in the office 2-3 days per week. The rest of the week, employees can work elsewhere. Going into the office can be beneficial to strengthen your social connections with coworkers, allow easier, organic access to leaders, encourage unplanned encounters with colleagues to collaborate, stay at top of mind for your boss and leaders, and help keep your company’s culture alive. Dare I say it, sometimes it may actually be more productive than your home setup (who rang the doorbell this time??).
If your company has a satellite office nearby but a major headquarters in another city, I feel these offices have the biggest chance of going away. Commercial real estate is typically very expensive. Coworking spaces present a viable option to replace the satellite office by providing flexible lease terms, easy scaling up or down office footprints, and sometimes being seen as a more progressive workspace option (may help with employee retention). If you don’t have an office to go to (many entrepreneurs and start-ups) or you’re not in the office today, there are many workspace alternatives to choose from. People can work remotely at home, coworking spaces, libraries, or busling places with free wifi and things to purchase (i.e. coffee shops, markets, bodegas, etc..).
So why can’t we work remotely forever? Unfortunately, I do not have an answer for us. Articles show how remote workers can easily be left out if a company’s onsite technology does not allow everyone in a room to easily interact with remote team members. Studies also show how certain leadership styles may favor onsite employees over remote workers. Either scenario may lead to disengagement and turn over. No fun. However, on a positive note, articles have shown solutions for hybrid workforces, but I have not experienced them first hand yet. Regardless of what the articles say, I truly believe seeing our coworkers in person every once in a while is important and getting a break from home feels good. Whether you’re in an office, a coworking space, or your closet working remotely, we are all in the middle of a workspace evolution.