A Modern Workspace for Modern Workers
If you’ve been working for more than ten years, you have likely noticed a shift in not only work habits, but workspaces. Two decades ago, companies often owned entire floors of building space with private offices, board rooms, conference rooms and secretarial space.
Less than a decade ago, the trend was to replace many private offices with cubicles to pack employees into small spaces without having to dedicate interior walls and doors to the office space. The past several years, however, have brought even more changes with cubicles being tossed (thankfully) and community space being creatively arranged to maximize space while encouraging teamwork.
Let the Walls Come Down
With the workforce becoming more mobile and dispersed, companies are saving serious overhead costs by reducing office space and finding innovative ways to utilize the smaller space. Large, open spaces with no walls or partitions are thought to breed collaboration and creativity. The increasingly distributed workforce enables companies to set up work spaces to be shared versus owned by a particular employee. Instead of each employee having their own desk or “seat,” employees can reserve office workspace as if it were a hotel room, hence its name, “hoteling.”
Companies realize there is no reason to pay per seat costs when many employees spend much of their time traveling or working at home from a virtual office. In fact, the avg square footage per employee has dropped 66% since the 1970’s and it’s going even smaller as more companies adopt these lean workspace designs.
One of the primary catalysts for this change goes beyond higher lease rates but advances in technology that enable new work habits. With mobile and cloud apps available via the internet, employees can have the same access to company documents, applications and records as if they were in the office. Hosted PBX and VoIP solutions allow employees to communicate with each other and the company via a desk phone and/or a softphone using 4-digit extension dialing, and features such as fax to email and voicemail-to-email, while integrating the phone with CRMs and other internal apps to keep employees productive and connected even outside of the office.
The new open concept for office space has enabled companies to successfully lower costs through downsizing by making space more efficient and leveraging modern technology through digitizing documents, business VoIP, cloud-based apps, videoconferencing and integration. While home offices will likely remain popular for both organizations and employees alike, companies will still find it beneficial to provide a common meeting place to unify staff and promote synergy; they just don’t have to do it as expensively.
How has your office changed in the last few years? Please leave a comment and let us know or link to a photo of your office.