As the social contract between companies and employees that mandated loyalty in return for security breaks down and careers become more fluid, diverse and self-directed, more and more of us have become what Marci Alboher memorably dubbed “slashes” several years ago. Who’s a slash? Anyone with multiple career identities that can be separated by the eponymous punctuation mark – as in, ‘I’m a graphic designer/ entrepreneur/ tambourine player.’ (Sadly no, metal heads, the term has nothing to do with the former Guns N’ Roses guitarist).
Careers going slash is not exactly news (Fast Company recently dubbed the same phenomenon ‘Generation Flux’ in a fascinating series of articles) but one corollary of this shift is just getting started — the slash space. The boundaries between our different identities are blurring in time as many more of us work flexibly at multiple gigs or projects throughout the year, week or even day, and it seems the hard lines between spaces for work, family and play are also becoming less stark.
At least that’s what a spate of innovative new space ideas that blur personal and professional space begins to suggest. In Europe, for example, Regus and other flexible office space companies are tucking workspaces into transport hubs to cater to a more location independent, office hours agnostic work style. Reuters reports:
Regus… is opening 15 on-platform railway business lounges in the Netherlands, 60 to 100 in France, and more in Switzerland and Germany. Regus is looking to do the same in shopping malls in the U.S and Shell service stations globally. The firm’s first motorway-flanking office opened in January in France on the A10 Autoroute’s Limours-Janvry service station.
In Britain, The Office Group has signed a deal to open five drop-in offices at railway stations, starting with London Paddington in September.
But it’s not just the railway station/office that’s going slash. How about coworking/daycare? Forget leaving your personal commitments at the door as you head out to the office, Plug & Play, a new coworking space in Austin, Texas is offering freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote workers office space and childcare under one roof, allowing members to meet parental and professional obligations in one place.
Do you think we’ll see more hybrid spaces along these lines as the rigid boundaries of traditional office culture break down further?
Image courtesy of Flickr user SashaW.