In the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s, office work was done with large desktop units that needed power and data to the desktop (the 8-by-8-foot cubicle). By the mid-2000s, powerful new technology and information became available with handheld devices, and the idea of working remotely was introduced. While this technology could do almost everything a desktop could do, most of the C Suites in corporations believed they needed to “control” the productivity of their employees by requiring them to work in an office. It was not until the global pandemic of 2020 that Corporate America began allowing their employees to work remotely (and not by choice).
What we’ve seen and been able to prove to the C Suite over the past 12 months is the power of ever-changing technology and how productivity for many is not lost. Eventually, this will benefit companies by allowing them to offer their employees a better work/life experience. Additionally, this will benefit the bottom line due to smaller real estate requirements and the lower operating cost of a smaller footprint. Today, it is believed that most business leaders have accepted this new model and are now working on a solution that mixes a 40-hour/5-day work week and a work-from-home environment.
The new reality will fall somewhere in the middle. Companies will not be successful in building a strong culture if their employees do not have the opportunity to get together and share ideas. People need to be social in order to enjoy a strong and healthy relationship with their peers, as well as develop their personal growth. These requirements for growth and happiness typically happen in an office or place of work.
I believe the concept of the “office” is still very relevant and will continue to evolve at the pace of new technological advances. We will always have an office to go to; however, we are not sure, at this time, what that will look like in the near future. Good news is, these behavioral changes will also benefit our environment, as we will be using less energy and need less time to commute to an office. The office has a bright future, but it will indeed be different.
Quentin Abramo is founder and president of Faciliteq — headquartered in Las Vegas and operating a showroom in Phoenix — which is dedicated to building and creating full-service workplace interiors and thoughtfully built environments.