It is official! The era of the super campus has come to an end. From warehouses in Connecticut and Florida used for storing and processing customer records to corporate R&D campuses often set aside in an office park have died a quick death.
Companies like Aetna and Pfizer began dismantling their "taxable" property for greener pastures, greater collaboration and innovation opportunities with universities and to consolidation. Once where thousands of people worked in tight spaces for the same company they were being "re-distributed". Recent news of Corporate Giant GE moving to #Boston rattled many in SW Connecticut as the reason was GE was moving into the tech space and needed better collaboration with colleges of which Boston has 25 or so... (Aetna Campus - Middletown, Ct.)
Add the popularity of #remote work, telecommuting and flexible workopportunities, the office of today is changing in front of our very eyes. Technology and a how to best empower a company have caused drastic changes. New hires demand a different type of work set up and tools. The days of Don Draper 7am - 10PM shifts are fading faster than the smell of the summer in late September.
The recent migration to #CoWork spaces, #WorkShift, #Remote Work has greatly altered the view on where the office is going. Companies are able to keep and even expand their footprints but not by building bigger campuses but by distributed teams in smaller spaces, often sharing space with other companies. It is more cost effective, affords greater collaboration and mindshare as well as flexibility for top talent. #Social Entrepreneur communities are popping up in cities across the world. Companies and groups like #TechHub, #CoWork, #WeWorkRemotely #Hatch and others are all too happy to support this next big wave.
While there will always remain a need for a central office many of the skill-sets are not required to be onsite. Social entrepreneurs now look for co-work spaces to be shared with other companies similar to the incubators of the 1990s and early 2000s. Each provide open landscapes instead of small office spaces with comfortable modern chairs, artwork and bar-style seating to hidden reading rooms and private meeting spaces. Everyone already brings their own device (Laptop, Mac, Tablet) and now they are bringing their own services eg. video meeting services, such as GoogleHangout, Skype, FaceTime and Visiple to other cloud based services. The user simply gets access to wifi from these spaces if they do not already have and they are off and running.
These spaces have essentially replaced Starbucks by affording greater collaboration, less push to buy that latte in a more comfortable space and surrounded by people with the same mindset. - Creativity blossoms!
Are these office spaces of the future ideal for everyone? No... for sales and marketing teams (louder, more vocal) a hybrid version is more ideal with more comfortable private meeting rooms, and techies coding away need their own nook to hide in but still have access to other people of like skill-set. Not for everyone but for most.
While still in its embryonic stages and there are no fewer cars in traffic everyday this is the beginning of a major shift in how we work and how we view the workspace and how to attract top talent. This added with traditional tech and business incubators, executive office spaces and greater adoption of game changing technology (the smartphone, tablet, video, data collaboration) is helping design the office of the future in front of our very eyes.