Information to help your business benefit from telecommunications

What future lies ahead for offices?

Lady and baby working from home

There was an article somewhere recently that reported that several councils in the UK are looking into the abyss when considering their investment portfolios. Many, in an attempt to make more money to be spent on services, have invested heavily in property, and much of that property has been commercial, meaning shopping malls and office blocks. Whoops.

You could say that there’s an argument to suggest that investing in shopping malls might not be the brightest idea, given the obvious growth in on-line buying, but who, this time last year, would have foreseen the demise of the office in quite the way we, potentially, are now? Or are we?

If one leaves San Francisco airport and turns left along the Bay it doesn’t take long to drive to Mountain View and Palo Alto. Suddenly, having turned off the coastal highway, one comes across a series of low and beautifully maintained office estates, and they’re all Google. For a couple of miles every manicured plot has on it another Google building, it’s awe inspiring, but also slightly spooky. Is Google going to give all this up and allow their staff to work from home? And will their employees actually want this?

I don’t think so. In this blog we have written repeatedly about building relationships and the need to know and be trusted by those we’re trying to attract as customers. This same need for relationship exists amongst any group of people sharing a common goal, and if employees of any company aren’t doing that, well that company has problems.

There’s inarguably a lot to be said for working from home. Not many of us will be missing the daily commute, and most of us are more than capable of meeting our targets without getting dressed for work. Then there’s the novelty factor to getting paid for not going out of the door, but, well, how many of us are already tiring of Zoom calls, or are finding them strangely wearying? How many of us are finding that Zoom meetings take more concentration, and that we’re perhaps not picking up as much about a person’s reaction to what’s being as we would face to face?

Here’s the point. Much as we may like working from home and easy as Broadband makes this for us, it doesn’t meet our needs. Yes, we can get more done in an undisturbed day at home, family allowing, and, no, we don’t waste as much time with people dropping in to the office with questions, but it doesn’t meet our needs. We need to be in the company of others to be able to fully relate to them; we need to be able to experience the nuances of meaning contained in a shrug or sideways look; we need all the social information that tens of thousands of years of living in community have taught us to subliminally imbibe. Even more basically, we need to be in company to know we belong to it and where we fit in…

Should those councils mentioned above be concerned? Yes, very much so. We’ll all go back to the office, but for most of us it won’t be every day, we’ve tasted the alternative and it’s good. We won’t need anything like the space we used to, in fact those businesses with suites of office room will be considered rather old fashioned and out of touch. We’ll become more of a 24-hour society, with people putting in work hours when they choose. We’ll more easily be able to handle more than one job, if we want to. It sounds incredible, given our current circumstances, but those able to work will be able to pick and choose more, and age will become far less of an issue. And, shopping online, working at home, we’ll have to make more of an effort to go out and meet people, so the world will get a lot lonelier for an awful lot of us, if we let it.

comments powered by Disqus