Will Technology Make Offices Obsolete?
Personally, I can see offices changing and being used less, but I would not expect them to be made completely obsolete just yet.
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The technology that allows people to work from home has been around for some time. In some cases, employees only need a phone and laptop with access to shared files. With technology advancing at unprecedented rates and office space becoming more expensive than ever, more businesses will probably start moving away from renting offices altogether in the hope of driving down business costs.
Working from home also has other benefits to employees and employers. When all staff is expected to work in an office, there are a number of factors that can lead to lateness or absence. If an employee is working from home, as long as the internet is working, they can work. The amount of time it takes to travel to and from the office means that staff can have trouble balancing their work, rest, and social lives.
Some people would argue that because of many factors, the 9-5 could be dying out. However, there is still a lack of trust attached to the working from home culture.
Some people feel that if staff works from home, then they are doing the bare minimum that's needed from them and spending the rest of the day watching TV and eating. Although true in some places, it's definitely not true in all of them. There are also tools that businesses can use to ensure all staff who work from home are getting on with their jobs.
Employees working from home is already something that happens regularly in the digital and media industries. All of Copify's staff works remotely, and it seems to work rather well. I recently spoke to Martin Harrison, who owns Copify, about staff absenteeism. Here explained:
"Our employees work from home, so absenteeism is rare as not only are they unlikely to pick up illnesses from fellow employees and commuters, they also work in a comfortable home environment."
Although younger industries like digital are leading the way in remote working, some older lines of work may not have the technology in place to allow staff do work remotely. Although these young industries are thriving with remote workers, some older professions don't have the available technology to allow staff to work from home.
Nick Riesel, managing director of FreeOfficeFinder, who work with companies looking for new office space, had this to say about the future of offices:
"There is no sign of interest in office space decreasing as in many cases an office is seen as a necessary expense. Although working remotely is a possibility, having all staff in the same place is still seen as the ideal situation. In fact, we have seen a rise in freelancers and single-person businesses actually moving into shared office space, as being surrounded by like-minded individuals is something that acts as motivation for staff."
Humans are by nature social animals. Working from home sounds like great, but it's been proven that being around others increases our production. I can see offices being used less and changing, but I wouldn't expect them to be made obsolete just yet.
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