The Future of Office Space

Jim Machi Photo
Chief Product & Marketing, Sangoma

I’m hearing more and more that the “future” office is really a shared communication workspace, shared with other workers from different companies, etc. Maybe that is a type of future for “home worker” types, but I think there will always be a HQ type of location. Anyway, for the last 5 years, I’ve worked from home a lot since I moved away from “HQ”. But the regional office I used to go to sometimes (when I yearned to interact, like, actually face to face with people) became unviable when I left Dialogic. But right down the street from where I live, I saw a cool brick building with people inside. So I looked it up.

It was a local WeWork type shared communication workspace. You can pay for a day, a week, or a month. So I went in there for a day. I liked the windows and the cool brick and having other people around. I liked the overall energy. I had a good day.

I was on the phone a lot, as I tend to be, so I didn’t get the creative work done that I really wanted to in an environment like that.

But while I was there, I noticed many people were NOT on the phone. To the extent that I felt a little self-conscious being on the phone so much and sent many more instant messages than usual.

Why were these people not on their phones? Is it because many of them were millennials? And I’m thinking, “Are they not on the phone because they are using every communication method known to mankind except calling?”

Possibly. I mean, I did see many of them smirking and smiling while looking at their smartphones. But like I said, it was a cool, creative environment, so maybe that was the focus. And I also noticed people generally stepped outside to take calls on their cell phones.

I was a weird kind of anomaly there. Not only was I a bit older, I was also talking to people through my computer using a headset and the Sangoma Zulu client. (We run our entire company off our own cloud UC/PBX solution. I have the option to use the Zulu desktop or smartphone client. Or at my actual home office, I also have an actual phone that is auto-provisioned back to the ‘home’ PBX). After a couple of calls like this and a few looks, I then started using my Zulu Smartphone client (and also went outside). (Note: The people at this place were so nice. They wouldn’t have actually said anything to me, so I figured a look was akin to an “in your face” experience in less polite areas of the country.) So I took the rest of these calls outside.

So, if this is the office of the future, why don’t these offices have a real phone option with a number that is not your cellphone number? At least for more regular types, who would otherwise go get a more traditional office? Well, I looked it up on WeWork’s website, and, lo and behold: “Phone service is an additional paid service provided by WeWork and our telecommunication partners available to members with Dedicated Desks and Private Offices. The contract is month to month and comes with a flat-rate fee that varies by market.” In other words, they provide cloud UC/PBX phone options so it would be like “your” office to a caller.

While Sangoma is not a WeWork phone option at this time, if you run a shared office space and want to offer your customers a phone office option, give us a call. We can provide it.

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About the Author

Jim Machi - Senior VP of Product Management and Marketing for Sangoma
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