The human concept of working together
Last week we had a chat with a startup founder about his hiring strategy. As it turns out, even a young company with less than ten employees is already grappling with the intricacies of remote work.
Our concept of working together is deeply rooted in an expectation that we work together in the same room, or at least the same location, so that we can meet in the same room whenever needed.
The phone didn’t change this, and neither did the Internet for a while. Even in tech companies, working from home was an exception rather than the rule.
It required the emergence of working communication, creativity, and productivity tools to make it possible that people can work together closely and productively without sharing the same space, or even the same time zone.
Change is in the air
The consequences for the commercial real estate market are still up in the air, but all signs point in the direction that they’re profound. The “administrative workspace” as we know it might not survive.
Smart real estate companies have realized this before the pandemic and the rush to work from home hit, but the pandemic might have provided a shock that condenses 20 years of disruption into 5. Only the nimble will survive.
One key insight, repeated by everyone we talked to, is that very few prefer to work from home 100% of the time. For all its advantages, the office is still a social place, and colleagues are not merely collaborators.
What the workspace of the future will look like
What will change is that the work being done at the office. It is no longer productive or creative. It is primarily creative.
Formal department meetings with 5 speaking and 50 listening attendants will move online. If the software is not yet superior to “everyone in a room”, it will be in a few years.
On the other hand, the small brainstorming session, where everyone speaks, listens, and acts, still benefits from those social cues that are hard to replicate online.
The office will shift from a place where everyone has to go to a place where everyone wants to go (for specific purposes). To leave the social sphere at home with all its distractions, to a place set up to maximize social creativity.