There was a time when working where and when you wanted was primarily limited to freelancers and digital nomads. But that was before the COVID-19 pandemic paved the way for new remote working trends. Ever since, the days of daily commutes to large open-plan offices with coffee corner chats and in-person team meetings have, for a large part of the workforce, been replaced by remote video meetings in improvised home-offices or coworking spaces. Working remotely has today become commonplace for many employees and is forecast to become more than just a passing trend. A shift accelerated by the global public health crisis and lockdown restrictions which have prompted organizations and industries of all types across the globe to create work-from-home policies in record times and embrace flexible remote work practices. While flexible schedules and working elsewhere than in the office was previously seen as a “perk” for employees and a practice met with resistance from businesses, in the past year, an unprecedented number of high-profile companies – with big tech companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon leading the way – have announced that they will remain remote even after the pandemic or adopt a hybrid and more flexible approach of working remotely. In 2021 alone, the percentage of workers around the world that are permanently working remotely is expected to double. Consequently, the workplace as we know it is changing and adapting to a new reality leaving many to wonder where is the future workplace, if not in offices, and more interestingly, how is this growing mobile workforce in fact an unprecedented opportunity for hotels?
Workplace mobility trends: from office, to home, to hotels?
The coworking and flexible workspace trend was booming before the pandemic. Since 2010, demand for flexible office space has risen annually by 21% and shows no sign of slowing down. Designed to be a low-cost alternative to working from isolated kitchen tables or renting expensive offices, coworking spaces solve the downside of working from home and bring professionals together. As a result, the number of coworking spaces worldwide is projected to reach 40,000 in 2024, double of what it was in 2020.
Remote work has for many been a blessing, if not a revelation. Away from the hustle and bustle of animated open spaces, traffic jams and rush-hour commutes has meant less distractions, increased productivity, greater autonomy, more time for leisure and family and improved work-life balance. Many people are enjoying having greater control of their workstyle and are not ready to go back to the office anytime soon.