The debate still rages over the role of the office after the pandemic.
This fixation with the physical space is much like our conception of organisations as machines.
Habitual, sloppy and out-dated thinking.
The boundaries of organisations are becoming more porous as they evolve into eco-systems, networks of people and resources engaged in but not dedicated to the purpose of the organisation.
Organisations are becoming more interconnected and inter-dependent, sharing risk and resources, collaborating to achieve scale and impact.
Peoples’ careers are becoming more fluid, as they not only move more frequently between organisations and roles but also between different states of ‘employment’.
These tides have been washing up against ‘the office’ for many years, slowly eroding its foundation. COVID is the storm that has washed away all but the bedrock.
It’s time to think about what we need the office for.
What is its purpose in enabling the organisation to function effectively?
What is it uniquely suited for?
How does it give an advantage over doing it remotely?
The biggest retailer owns no shops.
The biggest accommodation provider owns no rooms or hotels.
The biggest film distributor has no cinemas.
Perhaps one day the biggest knowledge company won’t have any offices.