My office my home
I recently read that One World Trade Center in New York will be the tallest building in the western hemisphere and the third tallest building in the world. The 9/11 symbolism and pride that it will bring to the Manhattan skyline is self -explanatory. I just wonder whether such extravagant structures are really necessary or will they soon become reminders of what the world was like before the technological revolution.
Consider the following. Conventional metropolitan office space has historically been about convenience. There is the convenience of large population centers and ease of access to service professionals. There is proximity to clients as well as major sources of transportation, whether those be road, rail or air. You would also be close to food, entertainment and lodging alternatives.
Now, consider the changes being wrought by the technological age. Hard document deliveries and signatures have been replaced by electronic files with electronic signatures. Smart phones and more compact server opportunities have reduced umbilical cord ties to close by data centers. Video conferencing capabilities have taken the place of the need for face to face meetings. You are now to the point where an individual with a home office and a wireless connection can be just as productive and interactive as a co-worker located in an adjacent office space. This is not to say that face to face human interaction has no value. However, at what price? Is it worth the stress and time spent commuting to an office location? Is it worth the rental cost of the office space? Does it add true value to your client communication? Or, could you be just as effective and efficient in a smaller, more flexible office environment with more employees working off-site?
Remember, the large scale office building is a phenomenon of the 20th century. Why can’t the work environment continue to evolve and improve? The mass affordability of the car is what led to the suburbanization of America. It also led to its current traffic congestion. Who is to say that the power of technology won’t create a new wave of living that will change the way housing and office spaces work together? It is very possible that the future of Wall Street and Main Street could merge into a cyber-community form of working and living whose future is closer than we may think. Just don’t tell that to the large institutions that have billions of dollars tied up in downtown office buildings. After all, we still leave our horses tied to hitching posts when we arrive at the office, right?
Until next time…
Keep kicking the dirt!
Jeff Gersh is President of Gersh Consulting Services, a real estate advisory firm, headquartered in Orlando, FL. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-468-9328