According to a recent study conducted by the International Data Corporation, the U.S. mobile workforce will grow from 96.2 million to 105.4 million workers in the next five years. Which means nearly three quarters of the U.S. workforce will be mobile by 2020. “Mobile” is a flexible term here--it includes delivery drivers, construction workers, law enforcement, and basically anyone who doesn’t sit at a desk in an office all day--but these figures highlight the fact that the American workforce is moving further and further away from the traditional office space. Even if your job involves looking at a screen all day, odds are pretty good you’ll be looking at that screen in various spaces throughout the week. So what should happen to the office when there are fewer and fewer people in it? Here are some ideas.
Smaller companies that rely almost entirely on a remote workforce might want to ditch the idea of a permanent office altogether. This sounds a little risky, but the decline of the traditional office has been matched by a rise in new solutions for more dispersed organizations. Services like PivotDesk help clients find office shares, temporary office rentals and satellite rentals for organizations that have no need for a more traditional and permanent real estate arrangement.
Play is Good
Increased mobility often means work time blurs into leisure time. Whether we like it or not, business comes with us everywhere now. One way to mitigate the stress this can cause: make some time for play in the work day. You don’t have to build a rollercoaster on your roof, but it wouldn’t hurt to demonstrate some understanding of just how radically your employees’ lives have been altered by mobile culture and its attendant adjustment of the line between business and pleasure. A basketball hoop in the parking lot? Daily yoga classes? Free memberships at the nearest gym? A game room? If home is going to feel like an office, maybe the office should feel a little bit more like a home.
No Assigned Seating
Sorry, folks: the days of the highly personalized cubicle might be nearing their end. With more and more people working from home at least some of the time, there’s no need for each and every employee to have their own little corner of the office universe. It makes a lot more sense to keep desks open for whomever needs them on a particular day. This will not only shrink office sizes to something more manageable and affordable, but converting to an open office plan with work spaces that are up for grabs can also help contribute to a more collaborative and flexible work culture.
Everything is in the Cloud
So what happens to work when the workspace is no longer fixed? It moves to the cloud. When people move from place to place for work--from the office to home to a coffee shop to an airport to a hotel room--they will need to know that they will have access (to both materials and colleagues) no matter where they are. The easiest way to ensure that everyone will have everything they need is to transfer as much of the office experience into the cloud as possible. In addition to putting documents and calendars and other such necessary effects in the cloud, implementing a cloud-based video conferencing solution like Prime Call Cloud MeetMe can keep everyone a click away from the same virtual office space.