“The Future Office Is Not About Place”

Returning to the office is certainly a hot topic these days. (I’ve also written about this, here and here.) Sixty-one percent of employers expect at least half of their staff back in the office by October 2021, according to a recent survey by HR consultancy Mercer. Another 87% say flexibility will define their workplaces like never before.

The traditional office has meant centralized spaces housing the vast majority of employees with assigned desks and set office hours. Now, hybrid is top of mind.

What does “hybrid” really mean?

Few companies seem to have clearly defined what “hybrid” really means. When pressed further, leaders share varied descriptions of the physical workplace. For example:

  • Virtual – No physical or centralized office space. All staff work remotely, all of the time.
  • Hoteling – Central office spaces where employees reserve a desk at nearby office locations, as needed.
  • Split Work – Central office spaces where employees are expected to work onsite for ~2-3 days/week and remotely for the rest.
  • Concierge Space – Shared office and meeting spaces that can be reserved or subscribed for varied time periods and locations (similar to what’s been offered by the likes of Regus, WeWork, and Intelligent Office.)

Adopting one of these may represent a dramatic departure from past practices for some businesses. Yet, these aren’t new options. Furthermore, conversations dealing solely with physical space miss the boat.

Real change for the office requires rethinking work.

17 plus 1 reasons why I am prudently optimistic about the Climate / Mobility / Work Transition for 2021/22

Shortlist of Transformative Realities and Trends

eb-tallinn-statementOne of the great recompenses of having watched the sustainable transportation and related technology developments evolve over the course of several decades, is that if one takes the time to step back and scan the evidence for pattern breaks, one can readily spot a certain number of  trends, fundamental structural changes, quite a few of which bode well for a different and better future for transport in and around cities. Here are a handful of the fundamental underlying changes which I have spotted over the last decades on the mobility beat and which I would like to share with you this sunny COVID morning.

Let’s start with a simple listing and then go on to brief comments in an attempt to clarify. It’s only a start.

G. K. Chesterson put it like this: “If a thing is worth doing . . . it’s worth doing badly”

(We’ll leave it to you to sort that one out: . .  Eric@ecoplan.org)

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