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Are Traditional Office Spaces Becoming Obsolete?

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Offices are still the dominant form of working space across many industries, but murmurings about the death of the traditional office have gained momentum recently.

So is there truth to the claims of their obsolescence, or do old-school office spaces still work best for small businesses, as opposed to the co-working or remote working alternatives that might also be appealing.

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The undeniable benefits

First of all, it is worth laying out the case for the defense, since traditional offices still have a lot of selling points compared to co-working counterparts.

For example, if you’re in Texas, by taking advantage of Austin office space for lease start-ups and small businesses can guarantee that they will not need to share resources or battle for control over the area with others from outside of their organization.

Likewise if a business wants to build a brand and grow its products and services away from the prying eyes of anyone else, then a traditional office will be the only way to go about this.

Productivity is another thing which is easier to foster when working in a distinct, private office space. The inevitable distractions that come with co-working spaces, or even with remote working, can prevent team members from being optimally productive, which obviously has a negative impact on the organization as a whole.

The caveats to consider

Of course not everything about the traditional office is ideal for every business. The cost might be the biggest barrier to overcome, but it is worth considering in a broader context, rather than simply comparing it against the apparent affordability of co-working spaces or remote working policies.

Sure, while renting office space might be more expensive on paper, you also have to factor in the aforementioned advantages it offers, since these may make it much more straightforward to justify the price you have to pay.

There is also the concern that in offices, employees may be cloistered on their own in cubicles, which takes them away from the free-flowing, accessibly collaborative vibe of a co-working space. This can also be overcome with the right kind of management techniques and scheduling, so it is really down to individual decision-makers to assess and encompass the positive and negative aspects of each working environment.

The importance of flexibility

Suggesting that traditional offices are dying in the face of modern alternatives is perhaps misleading, because in reality what is happening is more of an evolution.

This not only comes down to the fact that the needs of businesses are shifting, but also that employee expectations are also changing in line with broader societal shifts as well as crises like the pandemic.

Flexibility is key to the survival of the office, and to the long term success of any business that wants to attract the top talent.

The last 12 months have shown that while workforces can shift to operating remotely en masse, this is certainly not a state of affairs that suits everyone. While some people thrived working exclusively from their own homes, others have been desperate to return to the office.

This is likely why more and more companies are implementing policies and technologies that allow team members more choice over how and where they work. This should be better not only for productivity, but also for morale.

So there you have it; there is clearly strong demand for office spaces in spite of all the elements eroding their relevance in the 21st century, and businesses of all sizes will be better off if they adopt an approach that makes them as agile as possible, which is possible while retaining a traditional office.

Published: August 8, 2021

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