The office is DEAD. And it Won’t Return. Why?
Remember the ancient era when people commuted to work in boring, traditional offices and stayed there from 9–5? I always happened to think that there was something anachronistic about this arrangement and never expected it to last long term.
- The traditional office environment was built upon assumptions and technology that no longer exist. In the 1970s and 1980s, computers were bulky, expensive, and contained proprierty information. In today’s era, a worker can use a laptop and use a VPN for a secure connection, which will potentially allow them to work anywhere in the world.
- The traditional office was boring. No one wanted to be there. And if no one wanted to be there, what can keep there there?
- *AFTER ALL, all the Millenials MADE A TON OF MONEY ON BITCOIN ANYWAY!
- The people who work in office were only there because they needed money. They didn’t like what they did, and they had no passion for it.
- Silicon Valley figured out around the year 2000 that a lot of young workers were getting bored of traditional offices. As a result, companies like Google were the first to experiment with novel ideas (at the time) such as fun work spaces, game centers, good lighting, cafes, and good vibes that workers will enjoy.
Remember COVID? (I know, we should forget about the 2020–2021 era).
Before COVID happened, only 5% of workers did remote work!? (Disclaimer: I ALWAYS DID REMOTE WORK — even back in the year 2000! In fact, I have never worked in an office in my entire life!)
Why did remote work become so popular? The shock of the virus caused workpalces to radically change the nature of their offices and to allow people to work from home. However, once people started to work from home, they weren’t so interested in returning back to the office.
Some people actually like working in offices just because they can’t figure out how to have a social life otherwise. (WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?)
Why will remote work remain? The number one reason why remote work will never return back to the way it did in the past has to do with one simple formula: employees are just plain more productive at home. I know this is counterintruitive. https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/eharrington/files/harrington_jmp_working_remotely.pdf Long-term, corporations must do what brings about more productivity. If there is evidence that remote work is productive, it is here to stay.
- Workers have a lot more say than people imagine. The labor market is not that different from any other market. There is a supply of workers and there is a particular demand for their skills at a particular time period. If other firms are providing remote opportunities, then one must at least consider this when creating job opportunities because many of the best workers will be considering the most flexible workplace.
- Getting rid of office space saves money. Offices cost money. Whether a firm pays to buy or rent offices, this is an expense. If a firm is able to save on an expense that no one cared about anyway, this gets added to the bottom line.
- Workers have computers that are often times even better than the ones that exist in an office. I remember the one time I had an internship with a national radio host. I was supposed to collect stories and provide him with interesting data to read on the air. The computer was literally 12 years old and almost unusuable!
- In an era of high energy costs (such as gas) and roads that are unreliable and filled with traffic, commuting has become a much larger burden than it is worth. If one is not commuting to work, that means there is even more money left over for other expenses. It is almost like getting a 5% raise — and your employer did not have to provide you with any extra money! It’s a win win!