Study: Will the traditional office be extinct by 2021? Yes, say 58% of UK workers…

Rainer Sturm /

How long will we continue working in traditional offices? How long is commuting still a must to keep a good job? A question that I got asked quite often in the last months. My view is, it won’t take another decade to understand that there are several ways to establish a new and more efficient work-life balance instead of commuting in the office every day. However, I see many challenges for our social society when thinking about jobs and social engagement

A recent study by Virgin Business Media now shows some similar insights. It states that 58% of U.K. workers think offices of today will not exist in ten years’ time. The study was commissioned to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the British sitcom The Office (basis for the U.S. show).

The findings are based on a research that surveyed 1,000 U.K. workers that gave feedback on how their working lives have changed over the last ten years, and how they expect them to change over the next ten years. It has to be said that it was predominantly based on the impacts of technology…

Working remotely will be the new trend. Commuting and traditional offices will be out soon. At least that is what UK workers predict: 56% of respondents are not seeing themselves commuting in 2021 like they do today. An impressive 83% respond that technology enables them to become more productive in the last ten years. Productivity in the future means (62% say so) they would use just one device to handle both their personal and work life in ten years’ time.

The question will be if people will want to work from home, or prefer to continue commuting. Having someone to talk to, not being forgotten and having a need to show somebody that you are really “at work” might be reasons against the future outlook with no traditional offices space.

Spot On!
In May a report from Regus and Unwired called VWork: Measuring the benefits of agility at work makes clear that only 12,3% of respondents want to work from home. It will be interesting to see whether companies offices will extinct, or if companies will give their employees money to find coworking space (like the car allowance concept), or if they host coworking space (in order to recruit new people…). The virtual office will be the future for many people. I just can see lawyers, controllers or HR people who might need their traditional offices. The rest will be able to work remotely… It is more flexible, more agile for marketing, sales and business development, and people are motivated to have more meetings.

Would you agree? Do you see this development as dangerous? What is your view on the extinction of office space?

3 replies
  1. Kreativer Frechling
    Kreativer Frechling says:

    There are many studies that predict the future of the workplace, most of them dealing with knowledge workers in offices, many showing the differences between generations X and Y. The research is often based on the question: What do people want? But, what people want and what they will get is not always the same. Related country legislation, workers’ councils, company structures – only few of the factors that influence the development.

    There is a long term trend though, and the more profound and continuing reasearch programmes agree: The office will not go away. It will just change. It will become a place for networking. A place for human interaction. You may not have a permanent desk, but you will have the chance talk to someone, so you’re not being forgotten. We’re only human after all. Until the robots take over. But that won’t be 2021, hopefully. : )


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