The office as a service centre
Mobile offices which allow the staff to distance work are being embraced by more workplaces. Nowadays the cost of renting premises is one of the largest expenses for many companies – and in some cases, not all the employees are at the office at the same time. Is it really necessary for every individual to have their own desk? As demand grows, the office (as we know it) will transform from a traditional workplace into a modern service centre – with the tools that are required, for the employees that require them.
Offices are unlikely to disappear completely but their form is changing. There are many indications that the office of the future will serve as a “toolbox” – with all the key functions that the staff may require. Photocopiers, conference rooms and colleagues to bounce ideas off: these are all examples of tools that any company can benefit from. But it does not necessarily mean that those tools must be available eight hours a day, five days a week.
We are moving towards a more individually-customised workplace, where every employee will be able to choose when, how and where to do their work. If you want to spend the whole week at the office, you can – and if you want to come in occasionally to borrow the conference room or to get feedback from colleagues, you can do that too. The bottom line is that the office is gradually becoming a more of a service centre – and less a place where you spend the majority of your waking hours.
Control in the form of results
Today’s workplace largely revolves around control, with employers always checking that the staff is doing its job. Some companies use punch-card clocks and other systems to log time. But is that really the best way to verify whether an employee has been productive? Many companies have already started to apply flexible working hours, which means the staff can come and go as they wish, without needing to clock in or out. As long as they do their job, it does not matter if they do it in the morning, the evening or at night for that matter.
Instead of monitoring their staff’s working hours, these companies focus on the results. Are employees performing as they should? In that case it does not matter to the company if they go home at 2 p.m. or 1 p.m. on Fridays. Or if they come in at 10 a.m. in order to drop the kids off at pre-school.
The individually-customised workplace
Individualism is at the heart of the workplace of the future. But what about people who are not comfortable deciding everything themselves? People who want structure, routines and day-to-day support from their colleagues. Of course, it is important that the workplace suits everyone, not just those people who advocate freedom with responsibility.
As its name suggests, an individually-customised workplace means that it is adaptable for all the individuals who spend time there. Not everybody can perform equally well in a totally free workplace, which means that alternative solutions are required to prevent people from falling through the cracks. For those who need it, there should always be a physical office to go to, a group of colleagues to talk to and everything that comes with it. The challenge is how to successfully solve both parts – what is the ultimate solution for your company?