‘The Office’ Finale Marks the End of the Traditional Office. 3 Rules For The Office of 2013.

When The Office debuted in 2005, the American workplace was still a sea of cubicles, with workers typing away on keyboards connected to tower-style desktop PCs. In the eight years that followed, the workforce shifted dramatically, trending toward tablets and smartphones–which didn’t yet exist in 2005. Today, offices are still evolving, and the traditional office is shifting. It’s a shift that flexible workspace provider Regus recently noted.

“It’s not only farewell to the ‘Dunder Mifflinites,’” Regus group chief executive Mark Dixon says. “It’s good-bye to 9 to 5 work days, permanently planted desk-tops and bosses looking over your shoulders. Today’s workforce is mobile, global and tech-savvy – and employers are searching for ways to meet the needs of this diverse workforce.”

Regus specializes in flexible workspaces, providing businesses the opportunity to lease conference rooms and offices only as they need them. In addition to real spaces, Regus provides virtual workspaces to provide a street address, receptionist services, and more to give a small business the appearance of operating in a physical location. Virtual customers can also have use of physical workspaces as needed.

As Americans try to decide what to do on Thursday night now that The Office is no more, Regus ponders the new rules of etiquette in the current work world. Hiding staplers in Jell-O is so last decade. Today’s worker is on-the-go, pranking co-workers on video chat or IM. To cope with these new rules, Regus came up with the following rules for the 2013 office.

  • The Flexible Force. Regus conducted a survey that found that 77 percent of U.S. businesses agree that younger-generation workers are more easily embracing flexible workspaces, with the result that they are making it mainstream. Co-working spots and alternative office spaces are taking The Office to places like Shell gas stations.
  • Co-work, the New Network: The New Network. When surveyed, the majority of U.S. workers said they believe the water cooler is the best place for forming new friendships. Regus recommends encouraging interaction among workers, including hosting social events to get conversations flowing.
  • Don’t be the Jerk in Charge. As Regus points out, The Office showcased the top-down, dysfunctional corporate culture of the last couple of decades. Today’s bosses must recognize that hard work does not always equal sitting at a desk from dawn to dusk each day. Being tied to a desk inhibits creativity and productivity, Regus believes, and being micromanaged is equally as damaging.

As Millennials take over the workforce, it’s important that previous generations give them the support they need to grow. This includes providing a relaxed, flexible environment in which to grow. But mostly it includes throwing away preconceived notions about what an “office environment” should be in the first place. As your competition offers workers the opportunity to telecommute and report to fun, non-traditional workspaces, businesses that stick to 20th-century office environments will find it harder to attract and retain workers.

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Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.

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