Can Companies justify the high cost of requiring employees to come into the office?
The very high cost of real estate in major cities and their surrounding areas should be forcing companies to relook at their office strategy. The cost of commuting has become outrageous when you include vehicle wear and tear, cost of fuel and more importantly the waste of time and stress of employees fighting rush hour traffic. Below is an example of what is going on in many areas of the world:
The company behind WordPress is closing its gorgeous San Francisco office because its employees never show up
Automattic, the technology company that owns WordPress.com, has a beautiful office in a converted San Francisco warehouse, with soaring ceilings, a library, and a custom-made barn door. If you like the space, you’re free to move in.
We got an office there about six or seven years ago, pretty good lease, but nobody goes in it. Five people go in it and it’s 15,000 square feet. They get like 3,000 square feet each. … There are as many gaming tables as there are people.
Automattic has always given its 550 employees the choice of working remotely; the San Francisco space was an optional co-working space, spokesman Mark Armstrong said. The company maintains similar offices in Cape Town, South Africa, and outside Portland, Maine, and gives employees a $250-a-month stipend if they want to use commercial co-working offices elsewhere. And if they’d rather work at Starbucks, Automattic will pay for their coffee.
Current communication technologies are making the “go to work idea” outdated. Today, work is no longer a place to go but something we do, no matter where we are physically located.
As companies move their technology to a secure cloud, access to all company data is simple through wired and mobile devices. Communication between all staff is simplistic and very economical (in many cases free), with multiple audio and video solutions at their finger-tips. None of the typical staff interaction needs to be lost by encouraging employees to work remotely.
Mobile Smartphones have obviously changed our availability to our customers, fellow employees and management. The question “why do I need to commute to an office” has a simple answer “there is no requirement”. There is very little that can be lost when employees work remotely, if their production expectations are measured and met.
More than likely in many situations productivity will improve, business costs are reduced, employee stress is lower and in reality better customer service achieved as staff is available to react anytime and anywhere.
Other than warehouse space, to receive, ship and inventory product or manufacturing floors we feel there is little value in maintaining a physical office for most businesses today.
Today, many accountants, lawyers and professional staff work remotely with all the capabilities they had in the office without the physical voice and data infrastructure typically required.
By adopting this business strategy there is little to be lost and much to gain.