The Future of the office and the rise of the Flexi office and remote working.
Most people’s work routine pre-Covid19 was characterized by pitching at the office in the morning and going back home in the late afternoon. Some would then continue to work soon after they are settled in the evening at home. This pandemic has forced us into adapting to work from anywhere and not just only from the office. It was quite common to have a life-work balance skewed towards mostly spending time at work and fitting in all else of life in the remaining time. Some people I know have incidentally gone through a self-discovery journey regarding the traditional office, work and balancing living life. The concept of flexible “flexi” office and remote working is in step with the changes which are happening within the traditional office model. Research done by some of the larger workspace providers indicate that among advantages created by flexi office and remote working, people enjoy:
- A better work-life achieved with easier access to good workspaces either close to home or likeminded individuals
- Geographical neutrality – the choice of where to live and work.
- Personal productivity can be increased with inspiring workspaces and communities.
Just recently, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced their relaxed work-from-home rules to let more staff work remotely. Pichai said he expects about 60% of Google’s staff will work in the office “a few days a week.” Another 20% will be able to relocate to other company sites, while the remaining one-fifth can apply to permanently work from home. This is an indication of a change in view of the life-work balance, and this will further strengthen the value proposal of the flexi office and the rise of remote working.
Value proposal of the flexi office
1.0 Convenience of purpose: The flexi office provides convenience of purpose-fit workspace and rental period. One does not enter into long term lease agreements and during that time try and make the office fit the purposes it will be used for. The flexi office allows one to hire the workspace which best fits the requirement, both in terms of function and duration. Imagine the cost implication for start-up companies. They can adjust their workspace requirements in real-time depending on their demand.
2.0 Networking and possible collaboration: The communal nature of flexi workspaces is that they bring together people from various lines of work into a common space. This transforms flexi spaces into great areas to network and probably collaborate with others.
3.0 Convenience of location: The concept of a “near office” allows one least travel to access and use an office. Joanne Bushell notes the potential environmental benefits of a “near office” in her article to BizTrends2019 Flexible workspaces – the workplace revolution is coming (January 2019).
“An increase in flexible working could reduce levels of carbon dioxide by 214 million tonnes per year by 2030. According to the UN Environment Program, the world needs to slash its annual greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 12-14 billion metric tonnes by 2030 to have a chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.
By allowing workers to set up at a location closer to home, and cutting down on commuting, millions of tonnes of carbon emissions could be saved each year. With an environment in crisis, offering flexible working is not just a business or personal imperative, but one that also benefits the planet.”
Who can use flexi offices?
In a study by CoworkingInsights.com of thousands of international coworking spaces, the most common demographics of flexi workspace members showed professions that mostly used the flexi workspaces.
Flexi space/ Co-working trends in the world and in South Africa.
Growth in the number and size of flexi/ coworking spaces
- According to the latest coworking statistics, the number of shared workspaces has grown by more than double in just the past five years.
- Worldwide, there are an estimated 35,000 flexible workspaces. These provide over 48-million square metres of coworking space.
- In 2019 alone, two-thirds of all shared workspaces reported an increase in members. A third of them also expanded in size.
Corporate flexi/ coworking for larger companies
- The average amount of space required by each client has also increased. Now, a single client requires an average of about seven desks.
- This is in keeping with greater demand for corporate flexi/coworking, from mid-sized to larger companies.
- Demand for flexible workspace solutions from corporations increased by 21% last year.
- Currently, 14% of employees at large companies make use of collaborative spaces. This percentage is likely to grow
Flexi space/ Coworking as a strategy for networking and growing business. Great for expanding network.
- In a recent study, 82% of respondents said that coworking has grown their list of professional contacts.
- 64% said collaborative workspaces led to additional work and business referrals.
- 83% said they felt less lonely since joining a flexi/ coworking space.
Continued growth of flexi workspace/ coworking into the future
- Up to 2022, it is expected that the number of flexible workspaces will continue to grow at an annual rate of 13%. Clearly, coworking is here to stay.
- The number of co-working spaces in Africa is increasing. As of 2013, there were only 24 co-working spaces in Africa, but now there are 295 places.
Covid19 crisis has accelerated the shift from the traditional office workspace to the new lifestyle-oriented workspace. The increase in productivity, meaningful personal lifestyle and environmental benefits are motivation enough to advance the flexi workspace/ coworking model. It is Offyish’s mission to enable other people to also experience these benefits through making flexi workspace/ coworking spaces easily accessible.