The Future Office
“Flexible working will be the defining characteristic of the future workplace,” Google proposed in their “Workplace 2020” report released in 2016. Two years later, this is already proving true. While only 4% of organizations polled in Google’s initial report utilized flexible workspace, an expected 32% of them will be working in a flexible environment this year alone. This workplace shift, expected to continue throughout the upcoming years, is not surprising. In fact, it is only a result of shifts that have already happened. In Andy Slumber’s article, “Space as a Service” he writes, “Five technological megatrends are the “great enablers” of all the changes now taking place. And each of these trends is on an exponential growth trajectory...They are:
1) The ubiquity of the supercomputers (aka smartphones) now in everyone’s pocket.
2) Pervasive high-speed connectivity.
3) Cheap and abundant cloud computing.
4) Billions of internet of things (IoT) sensors connecting anything that can usefully be connected to the internet.
5) The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics."
Basically, as the world has shifted focus to connectivity and flexibility, the marketplace has shifted as well. As a result of these root trends Slumber describes, predictable tasks will become automated and valuable work will be redefined to skills only humans can do (i.e. design, innovation, leadership etc.) Thus, Google predicts that 40% of the workforce will not work for a major company in 2020. What does this mean? An increasing amount of users will have a demand for workspace that is is flexible, connected, and accessible. A place where more “valuable work” and human interaction can happen. The future office is not an office, but a place where people can gather, converse, and create together. Switchboard is here to enable that reality - let’s embrace this shift together.