- Flexible hybrid work options are giving rise to ‘lomads’ (local nomads) — a group of people who have the option to work across multiple locations without a fixed desk.
- Much like travelers, ‘lomads’ book space as needed, and workspaces for this group are becoming much more on demand instead of fixed.
- With the U.S. government now using coworking spaces as satellite offices for employees, these changes could continue to impact how our industry and cities develop post-pandemic.
For many, when they hear the term nomadic worker, they think of digital nomads.
This isn’t surprising.
The number of digital nomads actually saw an increase of 50% to 10.9 million digital nomads in the US alone from 2019 to 2020.
However, it is important to look wider to a growing group of people that don’t necessarily consider themselves to be a new nomadic or travelling group.
The ‘lomads’ or local nomads.
Organizations today can choose to be fully remote, hybrid, or on-site.
For many, the hybrid approach, “with both remote and on-site (work being) part of the same solution to optimize employers’ workforce needs”, is becoming the most common.
As a result, many organizations have changed or are changing how they lease, manage and consume workspaces and real estate.
Common questions today include:
- Do we need the same amount of office space?
- How long do we need this workspace?
- Why do we need to be in the office?
- Where should our office(s) be located?
- What are new employees looking for?
- What will help us keep our employees longer?
The list goes on and on.
What does this have to do with a lomad?
Lomads are a group of people that have the option to work across multiple locations around a city or region without a fixed desk or office. Much like a traveler, they book space as needed when, where, and how they need to work that day, week, etc.
This goes in direct contrast to the traditional role of every person commuting into an office to sit at the same spot each week.
Outside of the most obvious difference of having one potential office versus many, the bigger difference is that workspaces for this group are becoming much more on demand instead of fixed.
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- Worker A starts work at home and finishes the day on site with a client or team member.
- Worker B spends some of their time working in various satellite offices to meet up with clients, coworking spaces close to home for some creative work, or occasionally in a central office downtown for meetings with an executive.
- Worker C primarily works from home but alternates coming into the central office or a coworking space once a month as needed.
The options are endless.
It all comes down to choice and flexibility to work our best.
If you aren’t convinced, during August of 2021, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) contracted 5 flexible workspace companies to provide Flexible Coworking Services (FCS) to government employees.
The initial solicitation stated that the “Total Workplace Program is enabling client agencies to focus on their mission by providing temporary effective coworking solutions aligned with their operations.”
“Working beyond the confines of traditional government offices has become more common… This shift in capability has resulted in greater flexibility and mission response across the Federal Government. GSA is seeking nationwide Flexible Coworking Service (FCS) solutions that provide federal employees with flexible workspace solutions in order to occupy only the space needed in order to meet their missions and promote a responsible use of taxpayer dollars.”
Although an impactful step, the US government isn’t the first to enable greater workspace flexibility.
Many public and private organizations have also begun adopting similar strategies, adding satellite offices, partnering with workspace operators or service providers, and much more.
It is still unclear the scale of some of these changes. However, these programs will continue to grow this group of employees / workers that need or want to work more flexibly across locations and in turn impact how our industry and cities continue to develop.
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