So once again we look at our lock-downed world and feel that our 3 decades of providing an efficient virtual office has finally come into general business consciousness. As I leaf through the pages of the Sunday Times I read a paragraph that is almost our own mission statement. Let us consider it for just a moment.
“Why would we come back after all this and pay for space for a thousand people when we have already proven to the sceptics and the doubters that we can work perfectly well at home?” asked one manager. “I think this is the end of the modern office. In the future surely we’ll have a few meeting rooms and desks for the few who need to be in.” Richard Robinson, managing director of Econsultancy, agreed. “When we come out of this we are going to look at our large office spaces and huge rents and wonder what we were doing with them all. This will fundamentally change how we all work.”
He is right, how else can it go? Where is the sense anymore in paying for a prestigious suite of rooms in the city centre so that people can cluster around a water cooler and make Pret a Manger even richer. It all seems so pointless so ‘Pre Covid’ if you like. I really want to go and shout from the rooftop that the “paradigm has changed, business reality has shifted.” This is not even hyperbole, it is now a statement of truth that the old office -pre-covid – is extinct, it is no more and has ceased to be. Certainly all the big london commercial estate agencies will try to deny it. In the same way as Kodak tried to deny the supremacy of digital film, or Blockbuster shut its eyes to streaming. When the major commercial estate agents try to extoll the virtues of an office suite for thousands of pounds rent a month the business world knows it doesn’t have to be. Technology lets us work from home, we don’t need a receptionist wearing a facemask leading us into a meeting room that is only used 3 times a month but we pay for 24 hours a day. We don’t need to travel for an hour to a work space when we can have an equally effective workspace in our spare room. If we can work virtually from home with the essential functions of phone answering and mail handling outsourced to experts the raison d’être of the tradiotional office is gone. And, if you want a swish meeting room for the odd hour of whiteboard presentation then a virtual office such as Hold Everything will rent you one. We even supply the biscuits.
Once you get over the need to congregate in one place to ‘brainstorm’ you can use Zoom or similar apps. Be certain that once this change evolves new virtual conference will be created to meet the demand. In fact, I am willing to bet serious money, that in 12 months Zoom will look so outdated we will smile that we ever used it. We will be working in a world of augmented reality supported by all the research that Facebook, Google and Microsoft have been developing over the past 5 years. Yes, their time has come too.
Google has been offering augmented reality tools for a couple of years now. It unveiled its Android ARCore platform in 2017 which allows augmented online shopping.to become a totally immersive experience. This is all part of a larger arms race toward sophisticated phone-based augmented reality: Facebook, for instance, announced an expansion of its Spark AR platform which can be adapted to many office purposes. Wearing VR goggles is no longer a weird sight – it is familiar in an architects practice and in a cosmetic surgeon’s examination room. The enforced work from home discipline cause by COVID-19 will add urgency to these developments and before long we will have shifted irreversibly into a virtual office world. there will of course be naysayers, there always are. There are still printers who believe in the art of typesetting or authors belting out books on Remington portable typewriters but for the majority of businesses especially in the services sector of media and finance the office world has changed.
We believe fiercely in these changes and we want to discuss them with you. We want to show you how you can save thousands of pounds in wasted resources and useless outdated vanity premises. So call us on +44207 5804242 and let us make a convert of you before the guys at the big commercial estate agents put their sticky hands in your wallet.