Every work, everywhere, all at once: the ‘nowhere’ office explained

Friday, August 4 , 2023

Innovation is constantly reshaping our reality, and the future of work is evolving before our very eyes. The traditional office has long been a symbol of routine, but a seismic shift has taken place — enter the nowhere office.

The nowhere office isn’t a glib concept that means people today work from “no” office. Rather, it suggests the “now” and “here” of where work happens, the place you choose to work based on where you’ll be most productive.

This unique workplace strategy ushers in a new age of freedom and flexibility. What’s the best work ecosystem for you? With millions adjusting to hybrid work environments, having the choice to select your “office” makes all the difference.


Embracing the Nowhere Office: What Is It?

Imagine a workspace without boundaries, where you transcend the constraints of a physical office. The nowhere office is not a static destination but a dynamic journey that encourages people to work from wherever they choose.

The nowhere office is a strategic way of thinking about work coined by award-winning business writer Julia Hobsbawm in her book The Nowhere Office published in 2020. However, as hybrid working policies have gathered momentum in the past year, the term has entered everyday language and become ubiquitous in corporate real estate spheres.

Whether it’s a bustling coworking space, a managed office, a cozy coffee shop, a hotel lobby, or a serene park bench, the nowhere office becomes a canvas for creativity. Wherever you feel like working at the start of a new day is exactly where you get to work from, with no barriers or strictures to deter you.


Empowering Workforces: The Rise of Hybrid Work

At the heart of the nowhere office lies the concept of hybrid work—a harmonious blend of remote and in-office collaboration. This approach grants employees newfound autonomy, enabling them to achieve their best work-life balance.

Liberated from mundane daily commutes and the lost time, employees can tailor their schedules to suit their preferences. You may like to answer emails from a local cafe, while video calls are best kept for a quiet meeting room at the library. No matter where your work happens, this freedom is a catalyst for greater job satisfaction and employee empowerment.


Sustainability and Social Impact: A Conscientious Workplace

Beyond enhancing individual lives, the nowhere office has far-reaching effects on the planet. By reducing commutes, greenhouse gas emissions will lessen, helping to combat climate change. The office of the future embraces sustainability and challenges companies to align their values with eco-friendly practices made possible by hybrid working systems. 

Moreover, the nowhere office can narrow socio-economic disparities by offering employment opportunities to underrepresented communities, regardless of geographic location. This vision of a fairer working world where talent is valid over postal codes is a testament to the transformative potential of hybrid work.


A Brave New World of Everywhere-Work

In the nowhere office, the future of work is not something we passively await—it is something we actively shape. The concept beckons us to reimagine our understanding of work, embracing the beauty of flexibility and the power of virtual connection. 

While this utopian vision requires courage and adaptability, it is the only way to venture forward into a new world of work that empowers each individual person. Work doesn’t happen “nowhere,” it happens everywhere. Our workplaces are ours to create.

"Initially, the 'nowhere office' was perceived as a radical idea, but it rapidly became the norm as the term 'hybrid' gained widespread recognition. Despite the evident benefits of a nowhere office strategy, larger organisations still show resistance due to the challenge of maintaining two-way trust with their employees. Consequently, we are witnessing a rising pressure for more robust policies.

However, rather than spelling the end of the nowhere office, this shift signifies its evolution. Encouraging employees to choose specific office days, or team ‘anchor’ days either in the office or via a third party space encourages purposeful presence and community-driven workplaces while allowing employees the flexibility to work from anywhere the rest of the time. This approach promotes forward planning and fosters a conducive work environment that enables spontaneous collaboration.

The key to success is in effective communication, culture preservation, and employee development. Striking the right balance between flexibility and accountability becomes paramount for achieving success in this ever-evolving work landscape."

Clare Bridger, Head of Workplace & People Strategy, Incendium Consulting

Want to learn more about how you could implement a nowhere office strategy? Join our session or arrange to meet the team at CoreNet East-Meets-West Summit 2023 to find out more. Register your interest here. 

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