It used to be that people would find a job, work there for 30-40 years, and then retire. That’s not the case anymore.
With the emergence of advanced technology, career professionals have the opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial dreams and build startups around their passions. They can build teams that never meet in person because the virtual work environment has been made not only possible, but also efficient with the technologies and career mindsets of today.
This trend of “going digital” won’t be dying down anytime soon. In fact, the current state of the world has only pushed this trend further.
So, what does this mean for the future of workspaces? Will physical office spaces be void of purpose? Are virtual offices going to take over the business workspace landscape?
Here are predictions for workspace trends of the future decade.
The Future of Physical Offices
When you hear “physical office,” you’re probably imagining the common corporate office or building. Erase that picture. Read on to see what the future of physical offices really looks like and what many offices are already well on their way to becoming.
What is a Physical Office?
A physical office is a brick-and-mortar space that professionals commute to and from in order to get their work done. It provides a shared space for coworkers to communicate and collaborate in-person. Think of the popular sitcom The Office. There’s your physical office.
What Role Do Physical Offices Play in Remote Work?
Major corporations and startups alike are starting to look for alternatives to a physical office space. They are shifting away from the physical office and remodeling their businesses to be as remote as possible. Some are dumping the idea of a physical office space altogether, including Twitter and Pinterest.
Many businesses, large and small, have been forced to adapt and learn just how capable they are of functioning completely remote. While many businesses have been successful in carrying on their operations, the lack of in-person interaction of physical office spaces is sorely felt.
Many companies are planning for the future and imagining the reopening of their physical spaces. However, when people are able to return to their workplaces, they will hardly look like the offices they once knew.
The Physical Office of the Future
Gone are the days of packing employees into smaller spaces to create a collaborative atmosphere. As companies reimagine what their physical spaces will look, they must consider the safety regulations and precautions that must be taken to keep workers safe, healthy, and productive.
According to CNBC, future offices will heavily resemble offices of the past. The high-walled cubicles of the 90s are about to resurface. As can be expected, the safety and security of employees will be the top priority. This means combining the office designs of the old days with the new technology of today. This may include:
- Wider hallways with one-way foot traffic
- No-touch elevators
- Automatic sensors
- Better air filtration
- Video conferencing even within the office to avoid gatherings in confined spaces
The future of physical office spaces isn’t void, but it will be very different. Professionals’ personal workspaces will be spaced out. Communal treats and supplies will be off-limits. Office collaboration will need to occur from a distance. Welcome to the new normal.
The Future of Virtual Offices
As more and more businesses follow the trend of “going digital,” remote work has become increasingly popular, and thus, the span of virtual offices has grown exponentially. Early on, startups and corporations alike began taking advantage of the flexibility that remote work provides. Virtual offices offered businesses the ability to source talent from all over the world and to reap the benefits that remote work provided.
What is a Virtual Office?
A virtual office is “a company that operates as one unit and has a physical mailing address, but does not exist in one specific location,” as stated by Investopedia. Virtual offices are ideal for businesses that want the features and benefits of a physical office without the cost of real estate that comes with your typical brick-and-mortar building. This is why virtual offices are particularly popular among startups and small businesses. They still encourage the collaborative nature of a physical office space, but it allows employees to work remotely from all around the world.
What Role Do Virtual Offices Play in Remote Work?
Given the fact that virtual offices are completely remote, they play a major role in remote work. For businesses that utilize only the virtual office space, they provide the bottom-line basis for all work to be completed. Virtual offices provide many services that combine the benefits of physical offices and remote work. These include:
- A professional business address
- A dedicated phone number
- Live receptionist and call-handling services
- Fully-equipped meeting rooms and coworking spaces
- Rentable conference rooms
- Add-on services, if desired
Predictions for the Future of Virtual Offices
Virtual offices are here to stay. With the ever-increasing presence of virtual work environments and the help of 2020’s current circumstances, virtual offices can only be expected to grow in popularity. According to Work Remote, 1,519 companies used virtual office spaces in 2019, and the numbers are only growing in 2020. In Asia specifically, the demand for virtual offices is rising due to timezone differences.
Even though many large companies plan to reopen their physical locations post-pandemic, virtual workplaces will still be able to serve their needs. Virtual offices are not exclusive to fully remote employees. Often, startups and other businesses that operate completely virtually host guests outside of their organization on their virtual workspaces.
The Future of Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces are an emerging workplace trend that is especially ideal to startups. The spaces allow for a variety of working environments, stimulation of creativity, and the feeling of community. Coworking spaces are on the rise.
What is a Coworking Space?
Coworking spaces “are shared areas in a building for teams to collaborate or individuals to work in.” They are great for individuals that need a change of scenery and want a physical location to work in on a daily basis. Think of it as your home away from home. Generally, there is no reservation system for the table space, and you will find yourself working next to or around others that are utilizing the coworking space. It’s basically first come first serve.
What Role Do Coworking Spaces Play in Remote Work?
Working virtually often means working from home. While this can be a convenient setup, providing flexibility and cutting the time of commute, it can also become repetitive and dull. Sometimes, people need an environment to refresh and reignite their productivity. This is where coworking spaces come in.
Coworking spaces provide a fresh atmosphere outside one’s home that encourages creativity and productivity. You are surrounded by others who are working on projects or collaborating, which can serve as encouragement for yourself to get to work.
Additionally, coworking spaces provide a common space for team members to collaborate in-person when virtual communication just isn’t cutting it. You’ll feel like part of a community.
Future Trends of Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces are a relatively new workplace trend, and though the popularity of these spaces has exploded in recent years, the operators of these spaces are still working to identify what trends will make them successful. As with any new business, they have experimented with many ideas and seen which ones stick. Here are three trends that will impact the future of coworking spaces:
- A Space for Startups: Many startup founders flock to coworking spaces to develop ideas and garner their creativity. The collaborative aspect of coworking spaces encourages the sharing of ideas and fosters a flow of creativity among different individuals. There has been a shift, in which coworking spaces are now going to startups to pitch their benefits to try to convince them to use their space as a home base. What does this mean for the future? Coworking spaces will continue to be a home for startups.
- Immersion of Art: Coworking spaces provide a professional space that is less stuffy than your typical office space but still drives productivity. To reach this happy medium, coworking spaces have begun implementing art into their spaces to remind those that they are not in a boring office, and are instead in a space that encourages individualism.
- Diverse Niches: As the introduction of art provides a more unique experience, coworking spaces have also started to target specific niche coworkers. They may offer a specific experiential theme or target specific types of workers based on a career industry. No matter how they diversify, the future of coworking spaces lies in targeting niches.
The Role of Virtual Mailboxes in the Future
Now that the business world has been forced to function virtually, many are realizing the benefits of going fully remote and considering making the switch completely. For such businesses or individuals, whether they are a virtual startup or a digital nomad, they will need specific services to function properly. This is where virtual mailboxes come in.
What is a Virtual Mailbox?
A virtual mailbox is a service that allows you to access your postal mail from anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access. Even if your business does not have a physical location, a virtual mailbox provides a real business street address that you can use to receive mail and for legal documents. Here are some of the services that virtual mailboxes provide:
- Real-time mail notifications
- Online access to your mail from all around the globe
- Mail opening, scanning, and forwarding
- Package forwarding, storage, and shipping
- Mail shredding, disposal, and recycling
- Check depositing
What Role Do Virtual Mailboxes Play in Remote Work?
Virtual mailboxes enable you to run your business without the need of a physical office. Remote workers, whether that is a startup, constant travelers, or digital nomads, all require a permanent address to receive mail and legal documents, as well as registering your LLC or corporation.
Virtual mailboxes serve to provide a set business address that you can use for such needs, as well as maintaining a professional image to customers and protecting your privacy.
No matter where you are or how detached from a physical location you may be, a virtual mailbox will be able to scan your mail to your online device, deposit checks, dispose of spam or junk mail, and more. Virtual mailboxes allow you to truly go fully remote without the fear of missing out on the benefits of a permanent address.
Predictions for the Future of Virtual Mailboxes
When individuals first make the switch to remote work, they often aren’t aware of virtual mailbox services. However, with the growing popularity of digital nomadism and fully remote startups, the need for virtual mailboxes is steadily increasing, and more and more businesses are utilizing their services.
In this upcoming decade, all trends point toward a large market that will need virtual mailboxes. As the digital world grows, so does the number of virtual startups and digital nomads. Technology makes it increasingly easy to operate remotely. As more and more people choose to go fully remote, the need for virtual mailboxes increases as well.
With this increasing trend of the remote workspace, we must expect alterations to workplaces.
Physical workspaces, as a whole, are declining, but they are still in high demand. However, we must expect to see major changes in the way physical offices operate once they are allowed to open again.
Virtual offices, coworking spaces, and fully remote operations are on the rise, and these are trends that will not be slowing down in the near future. The benefits that virtual mailboxes provide will only make this shift easier.
The future is virtual, and we all should expect to adapt to it.
Are You Ready For A Virtual Mailbox?
Want to read your postal mail as soon as it’s delivered, even if you’re in a different hemisphere of the world? The virtual mailbox has you covered. Need to make a check deposit virtually? Use a virtual mailbox service.