By Gary Hewamadduma ACMA, CPA, CGMA, MBA, B.Sc.(Hons) in Computer Engineering
Up until the new millennium, having your own office room or a corner office was considered a success in your career. The people in the ‘cubicles’ were eager to get in their own office. A company must have an “office location” and the success of the company itself was measured by the type of office it had.
Then came the era of open workspace. Probably around 2003, it began to be more popular. It was fuelled by the tech industry, the ‘equality’ in the workplace was beginning to be the hip thing. Facebook, Google, Amazon all took the lead. CEOs started to sit right across others, bean-bag was an item of furniture, the pool table was right in the middle of the open workspace.
Now we are in the era of ‘distributed office’. Technology has advanced enough to enable people to work from anywhere. Commuting to work is phasing out. Companies are encouraging employees to work from home. Some companies even go as far as mandating it to a certain extent. People who learned “sharing is caring” when they were at elementary school are hitting the CEO ranks and they are beginning to implement it in real-life by encouraging the use of resources like corporate offices only for in-person meetings.
Here are some interesting stats. According to a few surveys taken in 2017, there are now 3.9 million Americans or 2.9% of the total US workforce who work from home at least half the time. The number of regular telecommuting employees has grown by 115% since 2005 to 2017. The number of employers offering work from home option has grown by 40% in the past 5 years, as of 2017. Two-thirds of managers who offer telecommuting flexibility report that employees who work from home are overall more productive. Larger companies are more likely to offer telecommuting flexibility than smaller ones are. Word wide, employers offering at least part-time telecommuting flexibility collectively save $44 billion each year.
All in all, the advantages of working from home or remotely include;
- Increased worker productivity.
- Higher efficiency.
- Lower stress and boosts employee morale.
- Lower real estate costs and overheads.
- Greater employee engagement.
- Positively impact to the environment.
- It meets the demands of younger workers.
- It keeps older workers in the workforce longer.
As the world embraces the distributed office, in short, few years, we may see a complete change in real estate use. The buildings will be redesigned more towards residential living with more amenities to facilitate remote working and work-life balance. With the world population expected to be at 9 billion by 2030, it is becoming less of choice anyway. The “office” will be completely on the cloud.
At the forefront of this revolution, ‘CFO Plans’ is already at a lead. Your finance team at ‘CFO Plans’ is “away” but closer than ever. It is not about “where” anymore, it is about “How” the service is delivered.