It's getting much harder to understand the point of a desk
We are in the midst of some very large workplace transformation projects. In each case, there is the expected resistance to change, or to too much change. There is a tenacious hold on almost anything that represents a home base, a place to call my own, a place where I can do heads-down work – an office, a cubicle, a wall.
Most of the people hanging on to these artifacts also make up the orange line in the graph above (click on the image to go to the original slides). Whether providers, users or occupiers, they all come to our meetings setting their smart phones and their tablets on the table in front of themselves. They have splurged on the latest technology that frees them from any constraints and allows their work to become truly interactive value creation and not just sit-at-your-desk value consumption. They say that an open workspace is too disruptive and that everybody needs a place to call their own, yet the data on office, workstation and conference room utilization and occupation shows that these archaic spaces are used less than 40% of the time.
Imagine that. Corporate workplace leaders continue to receive demands for places and spaces that are unwanted and unused by more than 60% of the people they serve, by more than 60% of the people who ask for them. These representatives of the CFO's office will be pushed to spend millions of dollars on space and furniture for the next generation of work, a generation populated by people who, using light and agile technologies allowing them to connect to information and people instantly and constantly, will soon come to the realization that a desk is not the place where meaningful and valuable work is done anymore.
Again, I think it's time for the death of the desk.