As economists discuss current trends, they commonly point out the shift regarding the workplace. Previously considered conventional, paying for space for workers to gather seems more like a financial burden in today’s times. Did the pandemic make the office obsolete? Or was it unnecessary all along?
How the office was invented
The office’s origin is simple. In the past, individuals did not have the proper resources to conduct their jobs. Employers owned the equipment, and the employees went to work to use it. The creation of the office provided a way to give workers tools, as well as ensure production. To mark the traditional office obsolete is to mark hundreds of years for formality as irrelevant.
Ways the internet affected society
After the industrial revolution, society embraced the digital era. Creation speed and knowledge turnover increased around the world. Automated machinery proved to be cutting edge, but then came the internet. In fact, it was the internet that changed everything.
Global markets opened with new possibilities. Additionally, consumers accepted self-serving platforms, like mobile banking. Companies everywhere tested their connections as worker capabilities surged.
Why did we continue to work in offices?
An article from Harvard Business Review written in 2016, stated that “instantaneous communication with everyone else on the planet would soon render offices obsolete.” Still, businesses continued paying for office space, willingly.
One theory suggests that bosses wanted to keep a close eye on their workers. Another claims that employees enjoyed the socialization. Regardless, four years have passed since the Harvard article, and finally, their prediction is coming true.
Does working from home make the office obsolete?
Do we want employees to collaborate? Sure. Can we offer virtual team-building as a replacement? Perhaps. To deem an office obsolete is a hard decision; however, many feel that the option of working from home makes the case. Besides, there are additional perks to working from home. According to one study, remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts. All the more reason to forgo the traditional workplace, right?
Time will tell the fate of the office
Sheltering orders have left many workplaces empty, so companies have no choice but to continue, for now, without an office. In the end, a business’s ability to function is what matters most. Some say, “Home is where the heart is.” All the same, it’s the employees that make the job.
Time will tell how the office’s story plays out. In the meantime, we’ll continue to observe.