The Office is Atomising

Students at university talking in common space

Space is no longer important; it’s all about the desk.

Everything is becoming atomised – markets, products, and businesses. So instead of one market of a million people, we have a million markets of one person. Instead of space for an entire business, we have individual spaces for each business team and, ultimately, each business team member.

The trend isn’t about work becoming flexible; it’s about work continuing to fragment and become highly distributed. Work is atomising into individual parts.

We’re starting to ask, not where is the best place for my team to work; but where is the best place for my work to be done.

Business managers are beginning to see fewer justifications for keeping team members together in one office. We won’t rebound in a post-Covid world to a pre-Covid way of working. Remote, hybrid and flexible work are simply stepping stones on the path to Distributed Work.

Distributed Work is The Future of Coworking – Coworking 2.0.

Coworking 2.0 will have characteristics that favour atomised work and, in turn, will continue to disrupt commercial real estate, which favours consolidation.

Instead of choosing a desk for the day, you’ll select the type of desk for work you need to do — a creative desk for dreaming — a functional desk for designing — a practical desk for completing outcomes. These desks may not be in the same building or location.

Instead of teams choosing an office long term, they will choose a regular day of the week to meet. The team structure will be fluid and change depending on the outcomes needed. They will decide on the fly the workgroup structure, who sits where and what resources they need.

Instead of constraining a business to a single place, it will become virtual and distributed. As a result, even small companies will start to behave like multinationals. A business’s brand will be more important than its location.

Diversity and fitness for purpose will become the criteria for selecting spaces to work, and in turn, the quality of the work done will become paramount.

Extraordinary Coworking spaces will embrace diversity in all its forms. It will encourage a wide variety of working styles and the ability to move between desks, rooms and studios seamlessly. Released to be the best they can be, employees, teams and even businesses will cease to be constrained to one work style.

The Future of Work continues to evolve.

David Thomas
Graduating as a Computer Scientist from Monash University and later qualifications in International Business and Marketing, David Thomas joined Hewlett-Packard as a Researcher. Cofounding Australia's first .com (OSA), the company became Australia's largest exporter of software in the early 90s and the creator of one of the first Internet Banking Systems (Deutsche Bank AG). As Cofounder of LaunchPad, he specialises in business impact and helping member organisations grow.
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