When John Lennon sang, “Nowhere man, don’t worry/Take your time, don’t hurry” in 1965, it was little known just how relevant these lyrics would be to today’s workforce.
According to author Julia Hobsbawm, we are currently in the Nowhere Office age, where workers can work anywhere, at any time, with more choice than ever before.
In her book “The Nowhere Office: Reinventing Work and the Workplace of the Future”, Hobsbawm traces the history of the workplace and details it in four phases:
- The Optimism Years (1945-1977): This was an era when technology began to play a role in how businesses operated, leading to a feeling of endless possibilities.
- The Mezzanine Years (1978-2006): On the cusp of the Great Recession, work had gone from having a sense of wonder, to pure grind as the expansion of the internet created more opportunities — and challenges — for professionals.
- The Coworking Years (2007-2019): In an effort to instill that sense of wonder once more, coworking spaces emerged in popularity to provide a creative safe haven for entrepreneurs, startups and other like-minded professionals.
- The Nowhere Office Years (2020-?): The pandemic upended any and all perceptions of the workplace. As workers hunkered down in their homes, technological advancements, social awareness, emerging Gen Z professionals and the desire to work from wherever has completely altered what the workplace will look like in the future.
One thing that has remained the same between each of these eras of work has been the sole fact that it is always evolving and adjusting to surrounding circumstances.
Using the lessons learned from previous generations can give us guidance into what to expect from the “Nowhere Office” generation, and what could be next for the next era.