The Office Dilemma: what changed since early 2020

By Campus X's Co-Founder and CEO Boyko Iaramov

Let me preface this article with something which is extremely important to get across from the very beginning:

The drive behind my analysis is not to judge the decisions of any organization and its people, whether they will revert to pre-Covid office use practices or not. The complexities and internal dynamics specific to each organization and its people are so encompassing, that anyone that claims to have a complete grasp and understanding of this, to me, is delusional.

This analysis is a challenger view for those organizations that in any form, size and fashion decide to have some sort of physical office footprint. A challenger view that aims to empower these decision-makers with the complete set of transparent tools and provide an alternative way to analyze the conventional office model as it depreciates post-Covid and the flexible office model that is gaining worldwide momentum.

Campus X flexible workspaces in Sofia, Bulgaria
Campus X, Sofia

In hindsight

We talk of the transformation of office services due to Covid- 19 as if this was a flawlessly operating sector before that. Muted within the comfort of operational inertia, there were many signs that this segment was ripe for innovation and disruption.

The global health pandemic was not the spark that ignited the remote office quest. People were the spark.

Long before COVID-19 people craved flexible ways of working but there were just a few sectors willing to embrace the unknown (at the time) and build for a flexible workforce with a flexible office footprint. In fact, research by Eurostat conducted in 2019 states that the lowest rates of teleworkers in the EU were reported in Bulgaria (0.5%).

Why? Simply because there was no governing mandate to invest in something new when the old seemed to do the job.

Then COVID-19 came, everything changed overnight.

All of a sudden, employees were finally empowered to take a stand, demanding flexibility of how they delivered their output and employers had no choice but to succumb to this – rushing in to “catch up” with missing remote-only practices across all levels of their organizations.

Since this article aims to be forward-looking, spending more time on the “days long gone”, serves no purpose and I will allow all the readers to honestly reflect on the above in the comfort of their private homes.

But my main point is – the office experience was ripe for transformation well before COVID-19 struck.

I know this will stir a lot of thoughts and comments. I welcome all. I am speaking from my first-hand experience as a tenant of a growing IT company, as a property owner for the largest IT Bulgarian exit (Telerik, which got acquired by the American Progress), and as an operator of four business properties in Bulgaria (Campus X).