A pre-pandemic interview between co-working pioneer Alex Hillman and workplace transformation expert Parthajeet Sarma, discusses various aspects of the modern workplace and the impact of technology on work habits and productivity. Hillman emphasizes the need for employees to have control over their work schedules and the importance of discipline in managing work-life balance. He believes that while technology allows for greater flexibility in working remotely, it also leads to people working more than necessary.

The interview delves into the challenges of creating a structured work environment without physical boundaries. Hillman suggests that individuals need to make conscious choices about when to work and when not to work, but acknowledges that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. He advocates for resources, education, and peer support to help independent workers navigate these challenges effectively.

The discussion also touches on the idea of digital coaches or AI systems that could assist individuals in managing their work habits. However, Hillman expresses skepticism about the feasibility of such technology, emphasizing the complexity of human behavior and the limitations of current AI capabilities. He believes that technology can provide answers to known questions, but it cannot replace the nuanced understanding and support that a human coach can offer.

The conversation then shifts to the concept of co-working spaces and their adoption by large corporations. Hillman argues that simply creating a co-working environment without addressing the underlying culture and work dynamics is a mistake. Collaboration, he believes, is not inherently beneficial and should be strategic, taking into account the motivations and barriers to collaboration within an organization.

Regarding the trend of co-working spaces, Hillman views it as a short-term trend rather than a long-term solution. He suggests that businesses often seek fast solutions rather than enduring ones and predicts that co-working spaces will eventually shift into service offices or transform into something else. While technology may enable greater efficiency and reduce the need for physical office spaces, Hillman believes that there will always be a need for gathering and connecting in the real world, as human interactions are complex and not fully replicable by technology.

Overall, the interview highlights the challenges and opportunities presented by the evolving workplace, emphasizing the importance of individual autonomy, discipline, and thoughtful design in creating productive and fulfilling work environments.

Watch the full interview video here https://youtu.be/2u1Zxuv_EDY