“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.

*** WORLD STREETS INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL *** (to be updated, with full approval) _ _ _

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With one eye to laying the base for our work and collaborative programs , we are currently in the process of updating and extending this list of distinguished international colleagues, each of whom is hard at work day after day on challenges, projects and programs, alone and with others, all in support of the principles of sustainable development and equity, in cities and countries around the world.  It is our intention to have the revised and expanded version of this panel listing online by end May 2019, as part of our celebration of the first ten years of our collaborative work in support of World Streets.

Since our work program is being totally shifted to the the challenge of achieving sharp near-term decreases in gases causing global warming —  CO2, CH4, N2O, PFCs, etc., — and in particular those emanating from the local mobility sector, we hope to encourage shorter or longer contributions from the members of our advisory panel on this critical topic

The revised version of this posting (end April 2020) will include some explanatory materials  to clarify the process by which this “New Mobility Majority” is in the process of overtaking the old attitudes, approaches and policies which have been largely responsible for our gross under-performance in the sector,  all the more important as the 21st century noose tightens in terms of climate, local environment, energy supply, scarce resources, the economy, congestion, poor service quality for the majority, and the long list goes on.  (In the meantime we want to hear from you with your ideas and outstanding nominations for the panel.  And if you spot errors or omissions on the following or anywhere in our work, yes please do get in touch and let us know.)

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