ShareFile special report: Office blanket industry in peril as workshifting trends rise worldwide
The Professional Council of Office Warmth Professionals (PCOWP) announced that sales of office blankets have declined for the third straight year citing the dramatic rise of workshifting trends worldwide. PCOWP officials say that the industry may completely disappear if these trends continue. Karl Smith, PCOWP spokesperson, discussed the troubling new data and reflected on what called the “heyday of professional blanketing.”
“For many years, we worked diligently to raise awareness of office blankets as the best way to combat the absurdly frigid temperatures seen in most workplaces, and during the last decade, we saw a dramatic shift in the advancement of the variety of office blanket items available,” said Smith. “Not only were we seeing better and more professional looking fleece and wool products, but we also saw scientists creating really remarkable feats such as blankets with sleeves and hoods. It was truly the golden age of professional blanketing.”
The dramatic downturn in office blanket trends started as more and more businesses began using SaaS products, such as ShareFile, Podio and GoToMeeting, which enable employees to work and be really productive from anywhere. Since employees are no longer constrained to their cold offices, they can work from their homes, coffee shops or even the beach, where temperatures are more conducive to non-blanketed outfits.
Alex Hofford, a longtime ShareFile employee, is happy that the workshifting trend is now more widespread, remarking, “I love being able to work from any location I want and still be productive.”
“Before workshifting, I would walk into the office and be hit with a blast of cold air every day and would have to spend the next 9 hours wrapped in my office blanket. It was like working on Hoth,” said Hofford. “Now using GoToMeeting, I can have meetings from anywhere and at any time without having to bundle up in my office blanket. In fact, I just had a meeting with a group of coworkers using GoToMeeting while I was outside on my deck overlooking the lake. I think I even saw a turtle!”
Other employees at ShareFile share similar opinions. Andrew Liebelt, a leading office blanket enthusiast, noted that many of his coworkers are no longer in the office for meetings, choosing to hold GoToMeetings instead.
“It was a common occurrence to walk by a meeting room and see a group of people wrapped from head to toe in office blankets. It got to the point when the hooded office blankets were popular, where I couldn’t tell if it was a business meeting or a group of druids holding a ceremony,” said Liebelt. “Now that most of our meeting rooms are empty, I’m requesting to turn one into a recording studio, so I can finally finish the free-form jazz/alt-country album I’ve been writing for a while. All of those empty meeting rooms would be perfect!”
At PCOWP, the future does not appear to hit such a high note. Smith lamented, “ We had a whole line of office blanket-related products planned— matching office mittens and face warmers were coming out in 2015—but I guess that is no longer an option.”
Smith says he and his colleagues could not ignore the tell-tale signs of doom for their blanketing dreams. “I guess I really knew we were in serious trouble when the manufacturer for our office blanket extension products sent us the new design files via ShareFile while he was out on the golf course.”