Reinventing The Office .: Are Co-Work Spaces The New Normal?
As the world slowly starts coming to terms with the “new normal” in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, experts and pundits from every industry are making predictions about how the world is going to change in the future. One of the industries most affected – and most discussed – is real estate.
Commercial real estate has been especially hard hit by nationwide lockdowns, and even with many countries reopening businesses, the traditional office environments of just a few months ago are having to change. Large companies are having to rent larger spaces or are minimizing the number of staff in the office at any given time due to social distancing requirements. Others are going into shared office spaces which are more flexible, fluid and cost effective.
While remote working has been a hot topic for a number of years now, organizational culture, not technology, has long been the key force keeping us in central offices. The technology has been in place for years, and has been used to great effect to ensure that staff can be more flexible and have the same tools at their disposal when they are out of the office as when they are behind their desks.
Similarly, the concept of shared office spaces is not a new one, and many businesses have learned to expect traditionally styled cubicles and boardrooms when they have needed to use these types of spaces. However, in the wake of Covid-19, companies are starting to re-evaluate their requirements, and have started looking for more out of the technologies and the spaces they are using to augment or even replace centralized offices. In fact, they are starting to look for spaces that come with the technologies they need, and that are tailored to their requirements.
For decades, technology has been delivered as a service. Thanks to Covid-19, we are seeing the resurgence and rebirth of office spaces delivered as a service.
Companies are no longer going to be satisfied with four walls and a desk. They are looking for a fully managed solution that includes the premises as well as complete technology infrastructure. In a post-Covid-19 world, Office Space as a Service (OSaaS) needs to offer far more than just premises.
Companies have started looking for a complete solution that guarantees location as well as fast internet access, a full telecommunications service, and physical and cyber security. Ideally, that should be combined with value-adds like CRM software. A complete solution like this goes far beyond providing access to premises and enables businesses to operate from anywhere as if it was their own bought-and-paid-for office.
Businesses need the peace of mind of knowing that all of the moving pieces – from the secure WiFi connection, to the number of desks, and everything in between – is fully managed. Ideally, there should be a single provider offering all of these components as a holistic OSaaS solution.
Covid-19 hasn’t marked the end of the office, just the office as we knew it. The typical open-plan office will have to evolve, finding its true purpose as a collaborative work space augmented by remote work. If we’re smart about it, necessity might turn out to be the mother of reinvention, giving us the best of both centralized and decentralized, collaborative and private working worlds, all offered as a service.
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