The office of the future will impact every industry. Indeed, when it comes to the ripple effect of alternative workspace it’s a matter of if, not when, it will hit the mainstream.
That said, some are betting there will always be a need for traditional office space in fields where consumers need to meet with professional service providers, like accountants, lawyers and real estate agents. Either way, business centers with virtual offices and meeting rooms are bound to find opportunity.
“Regardless of the increase in technology, the local real estate office will always be a much needed presence in the industry because real estate is a very grass roots consumer service, and there is no way around that,” Enrique Teran, co-founder of Avanti Way, a real estate brokerage in Miami, told OfficingToday.
“Consumers feel more confident dealing with professional agents who are experts in the area, and who have an office where they can meet and/or close the deal, versus agents who do not have any area specialization and who require alternate places to transact business.”
That doesn’t mean Teran is against alternative workspace and virtual office technologies – or that he doesn’t see the world of real estate embracing office of the future concepts. To the contrary, Teran says virtual desktop applications, cloud technology and the ever-improving mobile devices are truly automating the real estate process, from offer to closing. He says what agents used to use the office for is no longer needed.
Avanti Way, for example, leverages proprietary cloud technology, combined with larger, open work areas that aim to inspire collaboration yet respect personal space. Large computer screens provide better viewing options, and each machine has an integrated VOIP technology system that personalizes the communication experience, regardless of which computer the agents might use. Avanti Way has a complete, cloud-based storage system, accessible from any device, as well as Remote Check Printing in every Avanti office, which is an industry-first innovation, that literally allows the agents to print their own escrow checks without any need of waiting for administration.
“In the past, traditional offices preferred to segregate agents in stuffy cubicles, used darker colors and had a more clunky design, with large filing cabinets crowding the various walls. There was an overabundance of paper and clutter, so much so that sometimes even entire office rooms ended up as storage closets,” Teran says. “Companies that require their employees to think more creatively make use of clean, open, beautiful offices that motivate and inspire their employees. This was the same reasoning we used behind our design.”
As Teran sees it, creativity is the true wave of the future: “Because most offices will cease to be a required staple in an employee’s day, the savvy companies will start to incorporate lounge areas or coffee shops, in an attempt to motivate an ever-increasing mobile and virtual workforce to sit down together, chat a while, and oh yeah, get stuff done.”