These days, flexible work is oh-so-normal. Employees talk freely of catching up on a day’s work while on (or, at least, near) a beach. It’s common for people to check in at the office one or two days per week, getting the rest of their week’s work done at home. In fact, 92% of Millennials identify flexibility as a top priority when job hunting.
What does this all mean for workplaces? How will this flexi trend impact on offices into the future?
The rise of both flexible working and a freelancer economy is seeing a marked shift in the way that offices and workplaces operate. People come and go, and offices are adapting to match this new freedom. They are becoming more comfortable – more like a frequent flyer club lounge, or your own lounge room. They also provide access to gyms, yoga studios, social spaces, childcare facilities and more – so that when employees are there, they feel motivated to stay and do their best work.
The role of technology in an evolving workplace
We recently picked the brains of four DocuSign customers, asking them what they think the office of the future might look like. A common thread through all of their responses? Technology, of course. Workplaces are turning to technology for everything from feeding the team (hello, Deliveroo) to signing on the dotted line (hello, DocuSign).
So how will technology support the trend towards remote working? Aside from obvious and established technologies – like mobile, email, and file sharing – there are some really exciting new advances in technology that might see us all working from home in the future. We’re particularly interested to see how holograms take off. The ability to communicate by hologram, making the remote worker feel like they are alongside their distant colleagues in the meeting room, is pretty cool.
On a more practical level, the ability to check in to a co-working space from an app is another great example of how technology supports the trend towards flexible working. People can move fluidly and confidently through city spaces, easily seeking out places to get their jobs done. In fact, according to this article, people today prefer to work from a coworking space than their own home or a café.
Is coworking, then, the office of the future?
At DocuSign, we certainly believe that coworking spaces make smart business sense. Indeed, our Melbourne office is situated in a WeWork building. We chose this because it gives us flexibility, is a collaborative culture and gives us a professional business
The practicalities and, in particular, the economics of shared workspaces are compelling. Businesses are turning to coworking spaces for the ability to stretch and contract their desk space as needed, while keeping a cap on real estate spend.
With flexible working at a point where it is almost more normal than the 9-to-5 day, flexible offices and workspaces are quickly going to become the norm, too. Equipped with the technologies and tools to facilitate productivity, creativity and collaboration, these spaces epitomise the office of the future.