Discover more from The Nowhere Office
It's The Commute, Stupid
And the Six Key Trends right now of The Nowhere Office
London, 28 May 2022
This time next week I will be filing this blog from Utah, United States, which is approximately 5,000 miles from where I live in London. No, I’m not moving to Utah, but I will be working remotely from there for about five days. Why? Because I will be speaking at a conference (thank you The Seminar)
In The Nowhere Office there is no interruption to work if you cannot get to your place of work and this shift is so complete that even if you do not adopt a ‘fully remote’ stance like, say AirBnB has done, the data shows an absolutely huge move towards jobs which offer the possibility of it - a 30% swing in two years according to Linked In.
Even the bosses at Davos have issued their verdict: hybrid working, remote working, some kind of not-always-in-the-office-working is here to stay.
The photo above was taken from the Soho House ‘Soho Works’ in London’s Crouch End where I live and is a beautiful shiny lino-over-poured-concrete drop-in which was formerly a KFC takeaway in a hyperlocal hub nowhere near a subway/tube station.
This is not to say the office is finished - let me repeat, I’m not advocating No Office, just a new liminal in-between era when the winner is the co-working model (yes, We Work which began in 2010 during what I call ‘The Co-Working Years of 2007-2019) is in fact going to be the enduring model which all offices to some degree will be emulating: the drop-in, shared space, part-commune vibe).
THE SIX TRENDS OF THE NOWHERE OFFICE RIGHT NOW
So. 100 days after the first publication of my book The Nowhere Office: Reinventing Work and the Workplace of the Future in the UK - two months after US Publication what trends are holding? Well, overall, all my predictions in the book are coming true or being proved accurate (so far - things can always change).
To frame them up to the minute here are 6 trends I call ACCEPT which stands for:
AUTONOMY - People want choice. The Great Resignation is as much as anything about freedom to choose how and where and when they work. As Jonas Prising, Chairman and CEO of The Manpower Group wrote for The World Economic Forum last week: “no matter how you slice it organizations making a conscious shift to attract and retain talent by offering choice and flexibility will be more successful when it comes to what really matters to employees beyond the paycheck.”
COMMUTE - People do not, absolutely not want the commute. Hence the rise in the marketing of entire countries - Ireland - and cities - Hull - where the sell is the mobility to be remote and based somewhere lovely and work in cyberspace and on a commute basis. In Paris, where I was last week, the city is being transformed by an uptick in the use of E-bikes - A Europe-wide trend which pre-dates the Pandemic but was widely boosted by it.
COST. The cost of living crisis is so huge and considerable that this will determine how people work - will they save on the commute but have higher energy bills at home for heating and to power their broadband and devices? If so this could be a way for those bosses who do want workers back to use some leverage: We’ll pay your home bills *if* you come back…
ENVIRONMENT. Yes, I’m taking a plane next weekend but the idea of jumping on and off planes all the time for business travel is likely to be scuppered by the climate emergency, and the sustainability agenda will also greatly impact how offices are used too.
PLACE. Climate Change issues may propel us faster into the Metaverse than we’d thought and even if it doesn’t the whole question of place has become newly defined since the pandemic. Indeed The Nowhere Office concept is one in which time and place are no longer in lockstep in a single siloed model. Where you ‘locate’ yourself comes back also to number 1: Autonomy.
TECHNOLOGY. And finally: The tech. New research out from Nature says that only certain kinds of creativity and collaboration work on teleconferencing tools and yes, of course: I certainly would not want a difficult colleague conversation on screen either. But the reality is that we under-estimated just how enabling and equalising technology is too.
I make this prediction: Outside of very small gatherings like board meetings, or very large gatherings like conferences and internal all-office gatherings, every meeting in an office will be hybrid from now on - just look at the rise in the market of videconferencing tech.
There’s so much! In fact, I’m about to create a paid-for service combining a more rigorous and organised up to date list of data, research, and publishing, combined with a monthly teleconference for subscribers who wish to meet each other and share ideas. Interested? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org to find out pricing and options.
Meanwhile, some links for now:
Zoom have published an excellent piece of research.
Just how much power do professional workers in a tight labour market have? A *lot* according to this Conference Board report.
Series 3 of The Nowhere Office Podcast is live and includes some fantastic programmes made with partners such as Moneypenny and Microsoft looking at issues ranging from The View from the C-Suite to our Great Expectations of Hybrid. Our audience figures are rising sharply and we’re also on Twitter on @thenowhereoffi1 so do get listening if podcasts are your thing.
That’s it from me for this edition. find me @juliahobsbawm and send me any ideas and data.
Don’t forget if you would like the paid-for deep-dive service just email me: Julia@thefullyconnected.com and I’ll tell you what’s on offer.