The rapid acceleration of technology has changed what's possible. Within two years, 80 per cent of the world's population will own a smartphone. The cloud has grown exponentially. Artificial intelligence, automation, virtual and augmented reality are not futuristic technologies. They are here today in our homes and cars, in our pockets, on our wrists, and enabling us to work differently than we did before. Put simply, it's now increasingly easy for a person to plug in and work from anywhere.
Workers are increasingly aware of the new ways of working that shifts in technology are bringing — particularly those digital natives who have grown up with this technology and whose expectations are less shackled by what was possible before. They know they can work anywhere, and they also know that they can work in different ways that suit them and their lifestyles. This means that they appreciate flexibility. Why should they commute for two hours or more each day? Why should they have to work in cities if they prefer the countryside? They want to work for a business within which they can experience the benefits of a collaborative community, wherever they are, without wasting hours of their day.
Third, businesses are increasingly aware of this and they know that a smart strategy on flexible working can help them to secure the best talent. That's an advantage in a competitive world. But what businesses also increasingly understand are the financial and strategic advantages a flexible workspace strategy brings. A flexible workspace approach cuts real estate costs and allows businesses to concentrate on their core business, rather than being forced into also becoming a real estate business.
This allows large businesses to become nimble. A business can move people into a new market quickly and take them out again when required. They can move their people closer to their suppliers. They can do all of this without committing to long leases and expensive relocation costs.