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DO WE REALLY NEED OFFICE BUILDINGS TO WORK?

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DO WE REALLY NEED OFFICE BUILDINGS TO WORK?

Businesses depend on people and knowledge to operate successfully. And statistics have shown that the Office space is the primary place where the transfer of such knowledge occurs, and it’s second only to salaries as the largest expense for most organizations.

When we think about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the real estate industry one question comes to mind: Do we really need offices anymore?

And, if we do, how will it be different in the future? And if we don’t, how will the real estate business pivot?

What would that mean for lawyers?

The truth, however is that Today’s office is not just about space. It is about how we work, where we work, and the tools that enable us to work efficiently and effectively (from virtually anywhere).

The notion of work where you want [anywhere] that has inspired us asking questions like:

  • Do people really need to be in the office to do their work?
  • How can space be optimized for efficiency, technology integration, and collaboration?
  • How is the space being used – and why is the unused space being ignored?
  • How often is office space empty – and why?

Not so many years 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. But today do we really need corporate offices?  New technologies allow us to “connect to work,” meaning that all we need to get work done is an internet connection.  Employees are working from co-working spots, cafes, and home offices all over the world without ever having to step foot into a corporate office.  In fact the 2013 Regus Global Economic Indicator of 26,000 business managers across 90 countries, revealed that 48% of them are now working remotely for at least half of their work-week.

Here are 5 reasons why our reliance on corporate offices is dwindling.

  1. Collaborative technologies: – New technologies are allowing workers to “connect to work,” meaning that the only thing we need to get our jobs done is an internet connection and a laptop or desktop as the case may be.  From there we can access all the people and information we need to do our jobs.  We can have virtual meetings, create assets (documents, presentations, or anything else), get updates from our team, and stay connected to our global workforce without daily face to face interaction.

 

  1. Zero Commute Time: – Commuting is a big issue for many employees around the world.  According to a report from the United States Census Bureau 600,000 employees in the U.S. travel 90 minutes and 50 miles to work (each way) and 10.8 million employees travel an hour each way.

 

African countries fare no better. Can you imagine spending 10-15 hours in your car each week just driving?  That’s almost a part-time job in your car.

  1. Productivity is maximum: -There are numerous reports which cite the fact that employees who work from home are actually more productive than those who work from an office.

Global Workplace Analytics has perhaps the most comprehensive set of data around this with numbers ranging from 600 billion dollars which are wasted each year on workplace distractions.

  1. Millennials: – Certainly have a mind of their own and are ready to re-invent the wheel and still get the job done, easier, faster and efficiently. This is a generation that is used to being connected on social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. and they are comfortable sharing and engaging with people and information; it’s a part of their daily life.  This is a generation that doesn’t know what it’s like to get 200 emails a day while sitting in a cubicle. Organizations need to adapt.
  2. Running cost is drastically reduced: – Companies spend a massive amount of money on property and property maintenance. Not only that, Companies also have to spend money on office equipment, internet, amenities, and a host of other things.  Depending on the size of the company the potential cost savings here is in the millions per year for a single company.

 

In conclusion, there are many benefits to remote working. Of course, many argue that offices are great for fostering communication.

The point here isn’t to say that face-to-face communication isn’t necessary or important, because it isn’t, and we certainly don’t want to get rid of human contact (at least most of us).  Instead, organizations need to implement more flexible work environments for employees to allow them to decide how they want to work. For example, some organizations are implementing “pop-up work spaces,” which means that when meetings need to happen they can be arranged at mutually convenient co-working locations where a conference room can be rented for as much time as needed.

This isn’t about removing face-to-face communication it’s about not relying on that as the only option.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

https://hbr.org/cover-story/2020/07/do-we-really-need-the-office

https://www.workdesign.com/2010/11/do-we-really-need-office-space/

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2013/10/01/8-indisputable-reasons-for-why-we-dont-need-offices/

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