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Virtual or physical offices ?

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Andres Arias

It makes me happy Work, out, food and books, my favorite color is blue, my favorite food is Gnocchis

July 08, 2020

At the beginning of this year, normality on going to “office” was the day to day for a lot of workers and employers around the world. Taking the bus, getting into a cab, sharing a car, using metro, riding bicycle or just walking…that was the daily routine of millions and nobody could imagine what was coming next

But recently, in the last couple of years, the concept of “office” has been changing, new words appear in our language and demands, such as “home office”, “flexible hours”, “remote works” and others, words and new styles of how and where to work. Big and small companies understood that this was not a whim, it’s more a requirement of new generations, millennials and centennials, looking for a voice in the middle of the working system, demanding to be heard and desiring a change on the way things have been done, maybe searching for mental health and some others just because.

Maybe that’s why new ideas started to rise and appear, the “co-working” models arrived to change the offices market, they understood that people were looking for interactive places to work, where knowledge between different industries are just a few steps from your seat (wherever you are seated), places where you can work the whole day, mid-day or just a couple of hours, or a place where you can be seated today in the kitchen and tomorrow in a balcony with a great view. Something, by far, different to the modules we used to have, the modules where you stayed the whole year seating in the same place and looking to the same wall or partner, maybe or hopefully, those days are gone.

Then, in the middle of March (2020) the world made a pause and we had to go home, stay there without knowing when our offices, our chair, or our coffee station were reopening.

This new reality show us that staying 5 days a week in an office, in the same chair doing our stuff is not viable anymore, or that is what we think, what the media is telling us. New challenges for companies are right now on table, social distancing is a government requirement, and also a people too. Offices will change; maybe when we get back to “our office” we will see that is not anymore what it used to, or maybe we will not have a physical office anymore. We have the opportunity or let say “lucky” of working in the IT sector, where mostly all of our duties could be done just with a laptop and a good Wi-Fi, I mean, you don’t need an office for that, right?

But maybe it was cool to stay at home the first couple of weeks, maybe the first 2 months, we saw our family, we were more productive, we didn´t waste time getting to the office, things looked good…or not? Right now, even if we do not have a big family or too much friend, we need to get out; we need to see others, to feel the fresh air, to see other colors, go to a mall and surely…see our working partners again.

Maybe not everyone feels like that, maybe just me, but I think that we, as humans, need to socialize, to get fresh, to get other ideas, to be ourselves in this new reality.

Traditional offices, co-working spaces and that entire new tendency will change, not everything has to be physical but neither virtual. For me, the new office reality will be spaces where you see your partners, you share ideas, you develop your knowledge, you have pauses, you create, but I never said physical offices, you see? Because it should be a place either virtual or physical, where you have all that, could you imagine having a daily virtual coffee with your usual office partner by Zoom or Meet? Or an office moment where you have a game zone for a 10 minutes pause with half of your team in the “physical” and the other half in the “virtual” office while you all play together? I do.

I think us, the IT sector, is being called for a new challenge, about how to innovate and deal with these new scenarios, this new requirements society will demand. Are enough apps like Zoom, Meet, Teams and similar? Maybe for meetings, but for the office routine and activities?

Finally I invite you to read about Unilever proposal, a multinational company that surely must of us know about, they recreate their physical offices in a virtual game way so that their employees feel like they are there, that they are a community.

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