Flexible office space – A new way to work!


For the many of you who had been following my blogs, you would had noticed that I haven’t blogged about flexible working for quite some time.

Yes, I’m still a huge fan of having flexible work arrangements, and no, it’s not gone out of style.

It’s just that there’s only so much that you can talk about when it comes to flexible work arrangements without me sounding like a broken recorder! Right?

Well, that was until I learned about “GorillaSpace” from a friend, Ginny that’s taken the brave road to entrepreneurship to set up this amazing company.

While I listened to her describe the business model to me passionately, I was clicking away on the site and was amazed that I could set myself up on a hotdesk at an office location somewhere in town for as low as SGD30 a day. What’s more, I get a full range of business amenities at my disposal. I’m sure it will cost a little bit more, but the feeling of empowerment to manage my work location flexibly is refreshing.

The idea of work from anywhere is not new. It’s becoming a common sight that you see these remote workers making themselves comfortable in a café or practically anywhere with a desk and power point.

This is also becoming a norm and an inbuilt ability of our younger generation of workforce as they’ve probably developed the ability as students huddling in groups, camping out at fast food joints after classes and often, glued to their devices (mostly working on their project work as I was told).

Personally, I’ve tried working from offsite locations such as cafés, libraries, and even at a pub. Trust me, the pub was surprisingly quiet and peaceful at 2pm in the afternoon!

However, I’m sure many of you would agree with me that sometimes you need a proper office or desk to do some serious work. And home may not be that solution. From the noisy kids to angry spouse, fluffy beds to life threatening housework, the list goes on.

For those of us with a permanent office, there’s no issues. All we need to do is to show up at work! 🙂

What happens when you don’t have a permanent office? Or, if it’s going to cost you your blood pressure just to beat the traffic and get into the office at the other side of your world. I don’t know about you, but everyone I spoke to hates travelling to work.

This is where having the option to go into an office that is conveniently available just when you need it becomes somewhat pleasurable. Think about AirBnB for offices. It’s like having the ability to go online, pick out an office to your liking, pay for it, and just show up.

I think all of you will agree with me that the workforce and the workplace of tomorrow is going to be drastically different. I do believe that this is going to drive the demand for new and flexible ways for employees to engage with their work.

We also see a higher level of work life integration in our daily schedule. As such I do foresee that even companies with physical offices may need to relook at creating satellite sites for employees to check in for their work. And these locations will be conveniently located in location that allows them to go on with their daily chore.

An interesting example would be for an employee with a young kid to be able to drop the kid off at school, check into an offsite office at a nearby location to the school. Do some work and pick up the kid after that. I’m sure many of us are doing this already. The technology and infrastructure today does support such work arrangements making it a reality for many. Coupled with rising cost and availability (or lack of) of childcare in many developed cities, this is becoming a need and a norm very quickly. Companies are constantly kept on their toes to innovate and keep up, or risk losing their highly talented workforce to someone else who’s willing to make the change.

I do feel that sites such as “GorillaSpace” does serve a growing need and more of such sites will continue to mushroom.

I am excited with the future and am glad that I’m seeing the evolution in my lifetime. Personally, I hope more companies will start looking at such new offerings and rethink the way they structure work.

As a HR practitioner, I’ve always believed that structure determines behavior. It is important to continue to evolve the organization to keep up with times and continue to stay engaged with the employees.

Oh yes, I do need to state my disclaimer that I am not in any ways related or have any holdings to the company Gorilla Property Solutions Pte. Ltd. Opinions and observations are my own and not influenced by any commercial benefits.

And to Ginny, I do wish her the best in her venture!

Regards,

Eric Wong

Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

Eric Wong is APAC Head of Talent Acquisition Leader at Fitbit. His experience spans across the various human resource functions such as HR Information Systems, Business Partnering and Talent Management. Eric currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS). Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.