We read a lot about the future of the workforce and how it will be composed of a lot of independent contractors who do not work for regular employers. Indeed if you have read my posts here at Blogging4Jobs I have written about this several times, here and here for example. This is having a major impact on companies as this group grows.
One of the major impacts that this cohort of independent workers is that companies need less office space. Why rent or own square footage if people are not going to be there? Another driver of this is workers who are employees of companies, not independent, who work remotely. More and more workers are liberated from having to travel to a corporate desk by the modern technologies of Wi-FI, “My-Fis”, and 4G devices. A poll of British workers, commissioned by O2 in Great Britain, found “..found that over a quarter (26%) of workers across the country would choose to work from their local coffee shop if their employers encouraged flexible working. 46% of those polled said they are more productive in this setting, while 47% stated they choose to work from a café as they enjoy the change in environment.”
They noticed two other trends with this move to working remotely. First, younger workers are likelier to work from these locations than are older workers, 30% for the 18-24 age group and just 14% for the over 55 age group. My independent sample, based upon my experience of working from coffee shops might show a few more in the middle age ranges working from coffee shops, depending on their profession.
The second thing the O2 study found was also “.. that the number of those working flexibly from coffee shops decreases as the employer gets bigger, with 22% of small business employees working from this space against only 15% working for a company of over 250+ people. Unsurprisingly, those who are self-employed are more likely to work from a local café with a third adopting for this way of working.”
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Will the “coffice” become the dominant way to work in the future? Perhaps, at least for a segment of the population, according to Barnaby Lashbrooke, founder of a virtual workplace platform, who said “In 10 years’ time, most companies will be a hybrid of full-time, in-office staff, employees who work remotely either full-time or part-time and an extended freelance or outsourced workforce. Outsourcing many of the non-core functions – such as customer service, marketing and administration – to a pool of talented freelance flexible staff simply makes business sense.”
My sense however, is that while popular the “coffice” will not become the predominant way of working. Attitudes are still resistant. I have clients that still take attendance. Plus, there is just a great deal of work that cannot be done from a coffee shop. Where would we be if coffee shop workers wanted to work remotely?
Photo taken by the author.