The Office Of The Future Is The Sharing Economy

In an industry that has changed little for decades, workspace operators are part of an exciting movement that is heading towards a bold new future of sharing and collaboration.

By Brian MacMahon

Brian is the CEO of agile workplace specialists, Your Office Agent, and has specialized in creating workplace solutions for the past 13 years in over 30 countries and every continent. In this time he has been proud to lead the revolution in workspace change globally. Currently many companies still generally take inflexible leases for 3 to 10 years at a high cost of occupancy, even though most business plans are only 5 months out. This is something that Brian strongly disagrees with. Brian’s passion is to help find the change solutions companies need to thrive in this modern workspace world.
You can visit Your Office Agent online at www.yourofficeagent.com or contact Brian at [email protected] or 310.933.4666.


If we go back to the 1970s, the average amount of square foot allocated to an office employee was 600 square feet. That’s six times the size of an average single bedroom but that’s what it was. From then to today this has dropped to 225 square feet per person, according to most independent observers globally. The expectation is that this will drop to 150 square feet per person over the next 5 years. Most of this has had nothing to do with innovation and everything to do with cost reduction. Companies have to work harder to compete on a global stage; simple as that. The challenge most companies face today though is that there are no longer competitor barriers to entry for products, countries or continents. We are in a brave new world and the only tools the real estate community has had to break their way in so far are smaller desks and less space to put them in. Shame on them.

It’s not all bleak in the future though. There are signs that the dinosaur real estate brokers and REITs are waking up to how far they are behind the facility curve. Nature, common sense and the environment are providing us with the innovation fuel needed to enter a whole new paradigm of workplace change. This change comes out of the power of the sharing economy and the outsourcing opportunities globally. The first sparks of change have started to come though from organizations studying employee creativity, increased efficiency and overall performance, and the effect on them if they change the workplace layout to encourage social interaction and collaboration rather than the cubicles of years gone by. This has started the creative space conversation again. The growth of the managed space and mobile space demand has created this cauldron of workspace on demand and workers choosing their workspace by activity rather than by seat number.

This link between physical environment and innovative thought was ignited outside the commercial real estate world but has now erupted in our world too. Just look at what AirBnB did to the hotel industry by turning limited availability into unlimited supply. By allowing everyone to be part of the sharing economy they not only allowed many more people to share the revenue generated from the overnight stays, but they also gave the consumer better choice and more possibilities. In the taxi industry the same thing is happening with UBER and Lift. Both are turning the traditional taxi service from a limited choice industry into an open source economy where anyone can participate and benefit.

So where are we going with all this? The author founded his global online workspace marketplace called Your Office Agent to provide this choice all over the world for anyone who needs a workplace anytime. Many more like Alliance, Seats to Meet, Liquidspace and Instant offices are also aligned in this vision. We are all one movement with one vision and the change is well overdue. Our joint desire is to move the one industry which has not changed in 80 years into the new a new world where people can book a workspace as easily as they can order a coffee in Starbucks, and make their workspaces work for them and not be their financial death sentence.

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