The future of the workplace in three points
“The workforce is getting away from the idea that you have to work at a fixed place at a fixed time. Travelling into the office increasingly seems like a 19th Century practice particularly to the generation of workers for whom communication electronically while on the move is second nature.”
These are the words said by Peter Thompson, Director of the Future Work Forum, in 2006. Beyond doubt, the world of work has been and still is in the midst of radical change. Central to this “revolution” are the word “flexibility” and “mobility”: the number of new startups and work-at-home freelancers are increasing, as are the “nomadic” workers who choose virtual and hot-desks over permanent offices.
But how is the world of work actually changing? And what are the emerging tendencies, expectations in the workplace? Here we shed some light at few key trends which business leaders need to pay attention to.
1. From fixed workplace to flexible workplace. Technological innovation has reshaped every aspect of our lives, including how and where we work. All barriers of space and time, which for decades have characterised the world of work, have been gradually eliminated. This means that almost each task can be done at any place and time: you can work one day from home, another one in a coffee bar, and the following day in the office. We all have, and also expect, the freedom to better manage and meet the demands of work and their lives. Simply, the work-life balance has changed.
2. Workplace becoming a meeting place. Thanks to this new “anytime-anywhere” work, the notion of having to work 9-5 and daily commuting to an office is almost dead. However, this doesn’t mean that the office space has disappeared, rather that it has been redefined instead. From a place where people perform their job, the office has now turned into a space where one can have face-to-face meetings and share ideas with colleagues, clients and partners. No wonder renting serviced offices, meeting rooms and business lounges has become increasingly popular in recent years: comfortable, professional and affordable, they are the perfect locations to build work connections.
3. A new way of cooperating. Technologies are also changing the traditional employer-employee relationship. Since anyone can virtually connect or communicate with anyone else, and information is being opened up, nowadays employees have a new and very often more powerful voice within their organisations. Simply because dialogues and dynamics are faster, as well as more open and transparent, hierarchies are flattened, at least to a certain degree.
About the author: Dan Millington works at i2 Office which has business centres across the UK. He is also a regular contributor to various blogs and sites specialising in startup businesses.