The concept of serviced offices – working together and sharing premises, staff, and other overheads –has been around for some time. But over the years, serviced offices have evolved into dynamic new office spaces to keep pace with the evolving business scenario and meet the demands of new-age employees who are future torchbearers.
Here’s how serviced offices have evolved over the years:
- ‘Desks on hire’ are made available to entrepreneurs, consultants, and business people on the move in newly-formed business centers
- Hotels have in-house business centers — which are early avatars of serviced offices, offering guests business facilities like secretarial and other administrative services
- Cubicles become part of the open-plan office layout. Senior managers have cabins and private offices
- Going…going …gone. Disappearing acts for the typewriter, telex, fax machines …making offices more streamlined and compact
- Winds of change with the entry of personal computers (the typist pool becomes a thing of the past). Digital cellular phones make a foray
- The introduction of the Internet leads to a 360-degree change in working practices.
Laptops and mobile phones become ubiquitous
- Co-working spaces, hot desks, and shared offices signal a more collaborative environment
- During the recent lockdown, serviced offices give way to remote working or working from home
A ‘new normal’ is being ushered in as office spaces are re-designed for a successful re-entry post the pandemic.
Pro-active steps being taken across businesses include:
- Introduction of strict sanitizing and disinfecting procedures
- Workstation plan re-arranged for social distancing –more space around each employee
- Staggered return of workforce –only employees whose presence is essential to return to work, others to continue working from home
- Staggered working hours and lunch timings
- Technology and advanced analytics will be employed to monitor occupancy levels and adjust seating plans
The ‘new normal’ is poised to completely transform the workspace.
Some emerging workplace trends are:
- Pervasive technology in all spheres of work
- The ubiquity of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Upskilling of employees will be undertaken to allow for the implementation of AI across the organization
- Enhancing the employee experience – Greater emphasis on health and wellness initiatives to create an environment where people will want to come to work
- Touchless solutions – Voice-activated controls to create a touch-free environment
- Progressive office space designs to build an environment that fosters innovation, flexibility, and creativity with multi-purpose spaces, private spaces, even ‘fun rooms’ to bring a modern dynamic into the office space
Ever-improving technology and a shift in workplace culture are some of the key drivers of change. Serviced offices in Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, and Andheri, Mumbai are at the forefront of change already on the horizon.
Although office spaces have been greatly transformed, signs are that there will be a balance between remote working and the physical workplace. One cannot under-estimate the camaraderie and collaborative spirit that an office affords. Those are here to stay.