- SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications and technology firm, will reportedly invest about $3 billion in the U.S.-based, flexible office startup WeWork, says Fortune. Flexible offices, currently a small segment of the commercial real estate industry, are moving into the corporate arena with SoftBank’s backing.
- Meanwhile, chief operating officer Marcus Moufarrige of Australia-based Servcorp, WeWork’s rival, is coming to New York to double ServCorp's U.S. presence, which now totals 22 locations, over the next five years. Moufarrige told Fortune the time is right for flexible workspace expansion.
- With smartphones and Internet access, telecommuting has proved so easy that it’s pressuring companies and landlords to offer more workplace amenities to accommodate mobility, says Fortune. But so far, traditional office space is still in demand.
Businesses will not only need to consider offering flexible office space for an increasingly more mobile staff, they’ll also have to plan for less office space, brought about by an expanding gig economy that often works offsite.
At present, there appears to be a transitional phase between the 20th century office and whatever the future of the corporate office is going to look like. Experts now realize the multifaceted benefits of telecommuting (aka remote work), from better work-life balance to the elimination of productivity-killing traffic.
A recent FlexJobs survey rounded up the business-side of remote work benefits, which include lowering costs and retaining a more diverse group of workers. Overall, there's a strong case to be made for the perks of a flexible office.
Not every organization is ready to make radical changes, and that's especially the case for larger firms. HR practitioners at more traditional workplaces should still take advantage of recommended office design updates that, though small, add a good deal to improve the employee experience.