At one time, companies were usually associated with buildings they might have occupied for decades, if not centuries.
That is all changing.
Smaller and leaner
While the United Kingdom continues to contain some businesses classed as “very large corporates”, the last 30 years have seen a transformation in our business landscape.
Many vast organisations have either gone or transformed themselves into much smaller, “leaner and meaner” organisations. A perhaps even more startling transformation is simply the growth in SMEs that has come about over relatively recent times.
This growth in absolute company numbers coupled with the reduction in those that contain vast establishments has brought about the need for innovative thinking about office accommodation.
Typically smaller companies are not looking to buy vast edifices. They are also unlikely to be inclined to favour very long-term leases.
That’s because the office space they take today might simply be insufficient for their needs in 18 months’ time. So, in terms of a legal and contractual side, flexibility and an avoidance of becoming tied into potentially unsuitable medium-term solutions are becoming ever more important.
The impact on technology
These are powerful evolutionary forces and they are having their effect on technology too.
The change from great central computing establishments to distributed technology solutions took place in the 1980s. A similar revolution though is taking place today in terms of the need for distributed, highly flexible and highly customisable office accommodation solutions.
Companies may wish to change their structure and organisational basis much more regularly today than has ever been the case previously. So, the way office accommodation is configured, where it is located and the technology it contains may all need to be subject to easy and zero or low-cost change at a moment’s notice.
This, of course, has an implication for us and the typical technology and technical smarter printing solutions we provide. They must be capable of being incorporated into the very different looking office configurations found from one company to another. They also need to be capable of being instantly re-configured to support the changing shape of a company as it evolves and grows.
In the past, moving technology or changing its configuration was often something that generated fear (or even panic) in the mind of business owners. Fortunately, today there is no need for any such concern because appropriately sourced smarter printing solutions can be almost infinitely adaptable to the changing shape of a company over time.
It is always risky to try and predict the future. Even so, it seems as if the current trends towards smaller and more highly dynamic companies, is set to continue and even significantly grow in the years ahead.
As a result, companies may become less and less inclined to invest in office configurations and office technology support which is resistant to easy change. This will continue to demand exemplary design and solution provision from both office furniture and office technology providers.
It might be safe to conclude that technology will continue to reduce in size whilst increasing in power but also make it easier to relocate and re-configure when required.