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BirthofBringYourOwnOffice
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Please welcome Caleb Parker, our latest regular contributor to the Workshifting blog. This is Caleb’s first post.

I know what you’re thinking: “How do you pronounce that? Bee-yoo?” Seriously though, maybe you thought I meant Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). That’s the big buzzword everyone’s talking about lately when referring to the mobile workforce.

BYOD is a complex and controversial topic, depending on who you talk to. And there’s no doubt that there are serious questions to answer before you adopt a BYOD policy for your organization. Nevertheless, companies as well as government agencies are adopting BYOD at such a pace that some believe the trend already went mainstream in 2012.

Paradigm shift

It’s no secret that the nature of work is changing, nor is it breaking news that this paradigm shift will affect every aspect of work as we know it. We are seeing a shift from a management-centric environment to one that is people-centric. Management philosophies are changing from a standardized one-size-fits-all approach to one that gives individuals the chance to decide how they are best productive. The future of work is about results, not how many hours someone spends in the office.

The changing employer-employee relationship

A new generation of people, who are willing to sacrifice compensation for flexibility, are driving this change. Companies are learning that in order to attract and retain the best talent, they must make life easier for their employees. Everyone is different, so companies are empowering people to choose the tools, processes and even schedules that will make them the most productive while maintaining their desired work-life balance.

People want choices, even when it comes to who they work for and for how long. The way work is distributed and paid for is also being disrupted. Millions of people are now bidding on jobs that are contracted on an as-needed basis, a trend that will continue to grow.

It’s a win-win! Companies stand to benefit from these changes also. Profits will improve as OPEX and CAPEX savings are realized. The cost for technology is already shifting to workers as they choose which devices to “bring” (BYOD), but they don’t mind because they’re paying for their own mobile devices already.

The cost for workspace will shift to workers as well, giving birth to Bring Your Own Office (BYOO).

Bring Your Own Office

Just as BYOD is being rapidly adopted, so will BYOO. Workshifting is what will cause BYOO to go mainstream. Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk, the largest online platform designed to connect employers with freelancers, said that by 2020 one out of three people in North America will be working virtually.

As more people choose to work outside of the office, traditional real estate footprints will shrink and Bring Your Own Office workstyles will grow. On the oDesk blog, Gary reveals that 48 percent of businesses have reduced their reliance on physical office premises.

Employers have been looking for ways to reduce their real estate cost per employee for years. Over the last decade or so, we’ve seen a reduction in office sizes, a move to open floor plans and a rise in office hoteling within the corporate real estate footprint. A permanent workspace has a hard number attached to it. You can reduce that number by reducing the workspace’s size or increasing its utilization – but there is only one way to completely erase the cost of the workspace.

BYOO is the next stage of evolution for corporate real estate. People will be empowered to choose their own place of work, and just like BYOD, the responsibility for paying for the space will shift to the worker, and they won’t mind.

But how can someone bring their own office?

“Offices aren’t mobile, and they’re expensive!” Not anymore – that’s the old real estate model.

Mobile offices: Today, offices are in our pockets, and we take them with us. They’re accessible through our mobile devices because everything is in the cloud. There are numerous tools that enable virtual productivity for people to choose from. As long as we have a reliable Internet connection, the office is “virtually” wherever we are. So yes, the office is mobile. And people now have a choice of where they work.

Some people will work from their home office and others at the coffee shop. This is already being done – it’s called workshifting. And when a traditional office is needed, it can be booked on demand.

On-demand offices (touchdown spaces): If you wanted an office in the old days, you had to sign a long-term lease, pay high rent and incur numerous additional costs. Today, the cost and commitment of office space is significantly reduced by workspace-as-a-service operators. This is accomplished through collaborative consumption and technology. Just pull out your smartphone and book the closest professional office just for the time you need it.

A perfect storm is here. People are demanding flexibility and choice; employers want to reduce costs and increase productivity; and the office is mobile and on demand.

It used to take years for changes to occur in the workplace, but change now happens fast. As with all transitions, we can either adapt or go the way of the dinosaurs. The future of work is results-driven, and the workforce will be empowered to choose how they can best deliver. Bring Your Own Office (BYOO) will be one of the solutions.

What tools do you use to stay productive outside of the traditional office? Share your feedback in the comments!

 

Caleb Parker is the Co-Founder and CEO of TouchdownSpace, Inc. He is an entrepreneur, innovator, commercial real estate agent, former Regus, mobile worker, world traveler, football fan and a lucky husband. Follow him on Twitter at @Caleb_Parker.