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The Evolving Office Workspace

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It seems the world is changing at such as pace it is nearly impossible to keep up with the changing faces of work, communications, technology, even the methods by which we do business today. With the changing commercial real estate market, skyrocketing prices for goods and services and challenges keeping the right talent mix in your business, you may be wondering where the office workspace evolution is taking our world today. 

During previous centuries, a worker reported to a cubicle or desk to find a stack of papers , leads or widgets, whatever the item processed might be stacked up and ready to be moved through some process coming from the “in” stack and going into the “out” stack. Business didn’t run on knowledge alone, but ideas did have a place in the market just not in the day to day office operations. A worker could easily spend 20 or 30 years reporting to the same job endlessly… yes, it was a pretty boring lifestyle in retrospect but it was all there was for earning money. 

Some of the biggest changes evolving in today’s knowledge powered office workspace, no matter what your market, include:

When we work: In past decades, workers reported to work on a very set schedule, perhaps first shift operated from 8 am to 5 pm or something similar with a set time for breaks and lunch. That was well before the global marketplace changed work hours to whatever your customer demands. Now, staggered work times so that markets across the globe can be served are common place. Many knowledge based jobs can be done during any hours of the day or night and the hours during which a particular worker feels most creative are freely used as paid work time. 

Where we work: Top executives are often still needed in the office daily, but knowledge based workers and many types of service workers only appear in the office as needed or on a set schedule of a few days per week or month for key meetings and networking times. Other times, productive work is conducted in the field where that market resides. For example, real estate professionals are more and more working on “office” tasks from the hot spot in a coffee shop or café or even McDonald’s fast food restaurant rather than driving across town to appear in person only to have to run right back out, drive back yet again, eating up time and resources.  The time spent in traffic jams is much more effectively used following up on leads or updating listings. Of course, there are times that “face time” in the office makes sense because it provides fellowship, a sense of teamwork and the opportunity to network, but workers in dozens of fields have home offices, a mini-office in their auto, a either a desk or a shared space in their employer’s office workspace. 

How we work:  Just like the electric typewriter, the desk computer has probably seen its peak with laptops being small enough to fit in any briefcase or messenger bag replacing it with as much if not more computing power. In many markets, large offices, once the sign of prestige, are giving way to smaller, more efficient offices with shared spaces so that whoever needs the desk and infrastructure at any given time can find a place to work or meeting. 

As this evolution continues into this century, real estate professionals will creatively respond to the needs to their customers. Customizing spaces, offering alternative office solutions and other innovative ideas will generate loyal clients. 

The 21st Century Office Space

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