One of the last legacies of the industrial age is finally coming to an end thanks to the coronavirus pandemic: the hierarchical office structure.
Some really bold companies had already invested millions of euros in transforming their offices into a more flat structure environment, by removing the walls, eliminating the big private offices of the bosses and creating a more collaborative space, which most of the young love, and others, well… not so much.
For many, that change was already the (r)evolution of the office real estate, having vast open spaces, playgrounds, themed meeting rooms, screens and technology everywhere, unlimited coffee and snacks, and for the european or silicon valley unicorns even exotic meals everyday, dedicated chefs, video games, yoga instructors and other luxurious and exciting perks.
Well it seems that the era of the physical presence is over, and with that, the investment of the bold and young seems now like part of the past, welcome to the true digital working environment.
When everyone was having a blast in their newly renewed offices a global pandemic forced us to abandon them and innovate like never before in order to create the fastest transformation in work collaboration that the World has probably ever seen.
In my experience leading the SpicyMinds team, having the opportunity to work from home (or wherever you feel more comfortable) constantly, going on vacation whenever possible, without no one actually counting the days, makes people happier, that simple. So having implemented all those flexibility scenarios since years, it truly made the transformation easy for us. I haven’t had a physical meeting with a client in over 7 months and new clients keep joining us without even seeing each other. Proving to us that having an office seems highly overrated nowadays.
Many companies in Europe, the US and other markets just waited for their office leases to end, and are not planning to come back, some of the big tech players like Twitter and Facebook have already announced that they aren’t coming back anytime soon. In Europe 4 out of 10 people are already working remotely, and in the US it is expected, even after the crisis is over, that 20% of the workforce will remain in a remote work structure.
What does this mean for the future of business, is it a threat? or is it an opportunity?. In my opinion this is the biggest change in the working culture that I have seen since the introduction of the internet, it is a truly game changer in the lifestyle of the employee, but is also a great opportunity for business.
In the past, getting a client abroad meant discussing how virtual communication was going to flow, and if that was a concern or not to the client, and it was constantly seen as a let down when deciding with which supplier to work, “I want them close in case they need to come to a meeting”, or “I want them to be able to travel to certain key meetings” they said, well that is over, covid 19 has shown us that it was an unnecessary concern and that in a truly digital era, services can be rendered from anywhere successfully.
Need new sources of talent? well now your office doesn’t have to be next to Stanford in California or the IE Business School in Madrid in order get top talent, getting a programmer from Bangalore, a great Italian designer or a virtual assistant from Argentina is no longer only for the brave, it is a door that just opened to every small, medium or large company, anywhere in the World.
Now I can be working from my suite in Cancun, leading my team of 10+ nationalities, while we service our clients from over 20 countries, and thrive.
Don’t be afraid to capitalize on this new reality for your business, hire your best suppliers possible at the best possible rate, from a worldwide variety of options, bring talent to your company from the markets you always dreamed and expand your reach without limits.