The office is dead. I realize that may not be immediately apparent but it’s indisputable. The 2008 financial collapse killed the vanity office and marked the rise of co-working spaces. The why is as obvious as the when — real escape costs had risen to a point where companies could no longer justify paying them. In order to cope, companies shoehorned more people into less space. In return, the devolution from what the office was originally designed to be was complete. What began as the optimum place to do deep focussed work now survives as open-plan everything where disruption and distraction are impossible to escape.
We are now in the ludicrous position where workers commute to the office to use technology that is functional and available almost anywhere on the planet. When the office was devised it was the only place you could access the technology you needed to do your job — which explains why we traveled to them. With that no longer being true it has no purpose.
Here are 7 reasons why the office is dead and why remote work is inevitable:
1. 💰 Cost’s too high
One company I recently spoke to spends $4,000+ per month, per desk for workers to be in San Francisco. Bundle the exorbitant salaries it takes to attract talent in such geographies and the costs of doing business become uneconomic.
Companies who do not go remote will cost themselves in talent as well. Office-based companies can only hire the best talent in a 30-mile radius of the office, disqualifying themselves from 99.9% of the world’s most talented people. Decentralized companies won’t just be more talented on average, they will also be more diverse.
2. 📢 Focus impossible
Sitting in an open-plan office right now, stand up and look around. How many people do you see with headphones in? The noise-canceling headphone has become the office worker’s only defense against the worst possible working environment.
3. 🤡 Disruption’s default
Instantaneous gratification is the default setting of the modern world. This has permeated every part of our lives and the workplace is no exception.