Many of what we once considered alternative workplace strategies, have now become mainstream. Now in its fifth year, this benchmarking study was conducted by Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA), Global Workplace Analytics, and Haworth Inc., and additionally supported by Workplace Evolutionaries, a community of practice within the International Facilities Management Association. Over 130 organizations representing over 2.3 million global employees responded. The results were compared to longitudinal data collected across four similar surveys fielded since 2008.
The 'Once Alternative Workplace Strategies Report’, reveals significant changes in how and where people work. Some of the more interesting findings include:
- The worry over a loss in productivity when people are able to work anywhere is entirely unfounded.
- People impacts, rather than cost savings, are now the primary measure of success
- Internal mobility has more than doubled since 2008; External mobility (working at home, coworking places, outside the office) has remained flat
- Nearly half of employees are still permanently assigned to one space; no change since 2008
- Employee involvement in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of workplace change programs has decreased significantly
The free 50+ page report can be downloaded at http://we.ifma.org/resources/we-research/.
"At $20 billion, WeWork is the most valuable startup in America outside Uber and Airbnb. The bet: rather than just building co-working spaces, it's going to change everyone's office experience.
Softbank would invest $3 billion directly into WeWork. Neumann's team would build and manage the offices, and Softbank would handle the local relationships. Valuation: $20 billion. WeWork, which straddles real estate, hospitality and technology, was now worth about the same as hotel operator Hilton Worldwide."
Business deals are breaking boundaries too. At the end of their taxicab meeting, Son emailed a photo of their “digital cocktail-napkin contract” to Neumann and their business relationship was sealed.
If office noise is such a problem, why don’t noisy coffee shops, airports, or co-working spaces bother us?
"The problem may be that, in our offices, we can’t stop ourselves from getting drawn into others’ conversations or from being interrupted while we’re trying to focus. Indeed, the EEG researchers found that face-to-face interactions, conversations, and other disruptions negatively affect the creative process."
This HBR article suggests the problem with noisy offices is more a matter of who's making the noise than how loud it is. Recent brain science suggests just the right amount of noise (i.e. coffee shop level) may enhance creativity.
Coworking industry tracker cites concern over increased competition, overvaluation, and Regus’ plunge in value
The coworking industry is getting more competitive. Recent examples include stories about coworking spaces offering of a year's free rent to prospective tenants, reports of coworking spaces spying on competitors and coworking spaces closing down due to growing competition.
Some are questioning the sustainability of co-working with Regus’ reporting a loss of 1/3rd their marketing value, a WSJ article likening WeWork's $20 Billion valuation to "pixie dust," and increased competition traditional office buildings, libraries, and coffee shops.
Equinox, Life Time Fitness and other health clubs are carving out larger workspaces for their members.
Bank lobbies, hotel lobbies, and now fitness centers are getting into the alternative office space/co-working business.