“Mobile workplaces will become the norm”
The online platform “PopupOffice” allows users to find mobile workplaces in Switzerland. In our interview with the platform’s founder Mathis Hasler, he explains why moving away from fixed desks is the future.
Mathis, you no longer have your own office. Why not?
I use the co-working spaces that we offer via our platform. I find it inspiring being in a place where various other people are working, and I find it helps me to focus better too. It’s also ideal for networking: I often meet people who can contribute something to my projects. In recent times, an increasing number of companies have also started to use these innovative offices. This gives freelancers and start-ups opportunities for dialogue and collaboration too.
What can I expect if I choose a “pop-up office”?
The platform allows you to book available workplaces in the nearby area for periods ranging from a single hour to a whole day. You can then make use of the infrastructure available on-site: furniture, Internet, coffee. Some spaces are more like formal offices, which are suitable for focused work. Others are geared towards collaborative work and are better suited to networking. The approx. 100 spaces on the platform also include some that are a little bit different, like the Lista Office LO showroom in Lucerne.
Alongside freelancers and start-ups, the main target market for “PopupOffice” is companies. What is attractive to them about the concept?
Laptops and cloud-based programs make it possible to work from any location. Companies are responding to this development. Firstly, they want to provide a suitable space for employees who work remotely, with coffee, Internet and a quiet working environment. Secondly, there is increasing pressure from employees to be allowed to work flexibly. Some people are more efficient and inspired if they don’t have to work in the same place from nine to five. Companies want to facilitate this kind of flexible working. Thirdly, companies want to take advantage of the innovative potential of spaces that bring together different people. The idea is for workplaces to become spaces where people can interact. Due to these developments, mobile workplaces will become the norm for big companies in the space of just a few years.
Is this development having an effect on existing offices?
There is a desire in most companies to invest in flexible workplace models. Currently, there is a lot of experimentation going on with such models. There are an increasing number of internal “flex offices” with different zones for focused work on the one hand and communication-based work on the other. This means employees don’t have a fixed workstation any more. From there, it’s only a small step to external workplaces. The digital transformation means companies need to become more and more flexible. And so in future, offices will increasingly become a service. Companies will no longer lease offices themselves on a permanent basis, but will use spaces provided by large office providers as and when required.
Mathis Hasler (born 1982) is the co-founder and CEO of PopupOffice AG. After studying international relations in Geneva, he worked in various roles at companies and organisations such as Thomson Reuters and the World Economic Forum. Mathis came up with the idea for the platform based on his own experiences of constantly looking for suitable workplaces when he travelled on business. www.popupoffice.ch