What will the future of work look like? The question arouses intense controversy. While some say the traditional office is dead, big corporates like Amazon and Meta ordered their staff back to the office last year. Business leaders like Elon Musk went to war against remote working. But they are fighting windmills, like modern Don Quixotes. Hybrid working is here to stay. The future of working is a mix between remote working and working at the office.

So, what does that mean for the office in 2024? And how do coworking places fit into the picture? We asked Amogh Mogre, who’s taking care of customer success at zapfloor. Located on the 4th floor at Brain Embassy, the startup develops software (like the Brain Embassy app) to optimize workspaces. Amogh shares his insider views on a few office trends for 2024.

The employees are in the driver’s seat

In the US, entire parts of cities have become ghost cities, full of abandoned office buildings. Economists even warn that the ‘office crisis’ might trigger a new financial crisis. Amogh doesn’t think things will happen that quickly over here in Belgium. “But companies are definitely rethinking the way they work and have started to reorganize and reshape their offices. They realize that the big headquarters with a fixed seat no longer meet the needs of their employees.”

“There’s a new generation of employees who prefer flexibility over a pay raise these days. The 9-to-5 grind and the daily commute is a thing of the past. In more and more companies, the employees use tools like ours to check when their favorite colleagues are at the office and book a spot next to them.”

Corporates discover coworking

Forget about the freelancers and the startups, coworkings have outgrown their traditional audience. “The freelancers and the startups are still here, but the SMEs and the corporates have also discovered the added value of coworking places”, says Amogh. “It’s not about cost cutting, it’s about creativity and productivity. They find the best of both worlds at a coworking place. You can still have your own private office - they can even brand it - and once you step outside in the hallway or the shared space you meet other people and other companies who inspire you.”

“I think the offering at the coworking place makes it easier to convince people to come to the office. They come for the events or the ping pong contests, and they stay to do their work. In a survey from business.com a whopping 45 per cent of the professionals in the survey say that coworking has improved their mental health, almost half have seen an improvement in their skills and the quality of their work. The impact is real.”

'There’s a new generation of employees who prefer flexibility over a pay raise these days. The 9-to-5 grind and the daily commute is a thing of the past.'

Technology helps build communities

It is often claimed that technology makes us less human. Amogh is convinced of the opposite: technology boost interactions and collaborations and helps us to build and strengthen communities. Technology makes the office more human. “I see two big advantages of technology: it takes tasks and time out of our hands, and data gives us more insights. Coworkings get to know their members even better. They can invest the time technology frees up for them in meeting the needs and solving the problems of their community. That’s basically our pitch for coworkings: we take care of operations; you take care of your community.”

“Technology also helps office owners to tackle environmental challenges. Reducing carbon emissions is a top priority for every company nowadays, (future) employees expect their employer to join the fight against climate change. Smart tools allow office owners to measure and reduce their ecological footprint.”

Ecosystems pop up everywhere

All over Europe, Amogh notices that coworking communities are also business ecosystems. “IT, housekeeping, copywriting, graphic design, catering,…: members source services from each other. You bump into someone at the coffee machine, you start talking about your jobs and you find out that you can help each other. It’s easier to collaborate when your supplier is only a few desks away. We even see more experienced coworking members become coaches or mentors for other members.”

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