Many companies allow their employees more flexibility to work where and when they choose.
The way we work may indeed be a work in progress, but one thing is certain: long gone are the days where a daily commute to a traditional office space is the only way to forge a meaningful career.
Today, contract and freelance work are burgeoning, with the rise of the so-called “gig economy” seeing a new generation of digital nomads exploiting tools like cloud technology and virtual conferencing to work remotely across a range of projects.
Then there’s the global rise of co-working spaces – specialist open-plan areas in which a range of different businesses work side by side. Especially popular with start-ups and small companies, they’re becoming increasingly sought-after due to the potential they offer for networking, idea sharing and collaboration.
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“Due to lifestyle and generational changes, the view of a job for life no longer exists,” says Paul Chiswick, corporate solutions director (APAC) at contingent workforce solutions provider CXC.
The main lunch room in a Regus office in London. Photo: Regu
“While the permanent workforce will probably remain the primary model of employment for most organisations for many years, there are now a lot of people who are actually choosing to have greater flexibility.
“In fact, we’re seeing an emerging growth in high-end senior professionals who are choosing that lifestyle as well. It’s an expectation that’s actually being delivered by organisations, which are allowing this flexibility in terms of the time people work and the location at which they do it.”
Perhaps the first rule of the new employment paradigm is that there are, in fact, no rules.
Sydney-based freelance graphic designer Evan Shapiro is a case in point.
Currently combining client premises-based freelance contract roles with home-based remote freelance assignments, the print-design specialist delivers projects for a wide range of local and international clients, including not-for-profits, universities, large corporates and small businesses.
The front desk of Regus's Dandenong office, in Melbourne. Photo: Regus
“I really love the flexibility and autonomy that this model of work allows,” says Shapiro. “I’m a single dad and I co-parent, so working freelance and remotely means that I’m a lot more available to my family, which is very important to me.
“Having that control over how you spend your days is only one aspect. Being freelance also means I have the opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects for a diverse range of clients who often need very different things. Not doing the same thing every day is really interesting, and, for me, that’s a very significant drawcard,” he says.
When it comes to catering to changing work demands, global workspace provider Regus – part of IWG – is at the forefront.
Offering a range of flexible workspace solutions such as fully furnished offices, meeting rooms and virtual offices, the company operates more than 70 centres across Australia, including recently opened locations in Sydney’s World Square, Bankstown’s Flinders Centre and Dandenong in Melbourne.
The boardroom of Regus's Dandenong office. Photo: Regus
According to Damien Sheehan, national head of IWG Australia, co-working spaces enable companies to overcome uncertainty due to digitisation and disruption by offering the ability to adapt to required workforce sizes quickly.
“When we talk about conventional office space, part of the problem is its inability to adapt to particular business needs.”
Sheehan says rapidly evolving work and employment patterns are making it harder for companies to commit to traditional office spaces in the long term.
“Most managers don’t really know what they’ll need three or four years from now. This is why flexible workspace solutions are becoming increasingly relevant and sought after.
“Rather than having a one-size-fits-all office structure, our workspaces can be moulded or customised around individual businesses as they upscale or downscale, as their priorities shift, or as staffing requirements change.”
This article has been created in partnership with Regus.