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J. Scott Rae Buono

According to the Work Design Collaborative, 40 percent of the American workforce will work outside the traditional office environment by 2012. Small business owners aren’t the only parties benefiting from this shift. As the American workforce becomes more and more dispersed, commercial real estate developers are starting to look toward serviced office center concepts, coming aboard as investors and adding a lucrative opportunity to their portfolios.

The key to success for a serviced office center is to understand and keep pace with work style trends. Increasingly, companies are freeing employees to work when, where and how they want. This means rather than bringing all the workers to a central location, businesses are distributing work to their employees, but they need to provide a location where that work can be done. When a company finds someone with a required skill set who is hundreds or even thousands of miles away, relocating that person is no longer essential. And if that individual leaves and his replacement is in another city or state, no problem; work is no longer a place to go, it’s a thing to do, and it can be done from almost anywhere. The growth of this group of remote mobile workers is not going to slow down, nor is the demand for a quality, reliable, productive place for them to work.

Those workers need resources and support. Even with free Wi-Fi, local coffee shops and restaurants aren’t always ideal locales in which to conduct business, as it’s impossible to have a confidential meeting or stage an impressive presentation at a small table with uncomfortable chairs and the sounds of clanging pots and crying children in the background. However, since the business forecast cycle is getting shorter and shorter and the speed of change is moving faster and faster, outsourcing real estate, facilities management, support services and personnel makes more sense today than ever. It will continue to be an important part of our business culture, and this means the need for the offerings of serviced office centers is going anywhere but down.

— J. Scott Rae Buono is the president and CEO of YourOffice USA, a national franchisor of high-quality serviced office centers and workplaces.

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