For corporate office workers, the appeal and benefit of a coworking environment may not be readily apparent. You already have access to traditional office amenities like high-speed internet, printers and conference rooms.
However, the workforce is increasingly on the move; by 2015, it’s estimated that there will be 1.3 billion mobile workers worldwide, and these aren’t just full-time telecommuters. These are traditional corporate and office employees that are being given newfound freedom to pursue flexible work.
There are a variety of benefits to coworking spaces for both businesses and workers, but there are also new challenges to navigate.
For Businesses: Extend the Talent Pool and Reduce Office Costs
Corporate offices tend to have a limited reach when looking to attract new talent, as the nature of the office requires them to either look locally or foot expensive relocation costs to bring in top talent from elsewhere. Giving your employees the option to use a coworking space gives them the work flexibility they crave while allowing you to attract talent from anywhere, reducing relocation costs and broadening your company’s reach.
And with today’s intuitive and mobile web conferencing tools, new hires or newly mobile employees will have all of the benefits of face-to-face interaction with their teams anytime and anywhere.
Best of all, as more workers migrate outside the office, companies can start reducing their real estate expenses, transitioning to more modern, innovative office designs with shared spaces of their own. A company such as Plantronics, which redesigned its offices to accommodate only 60% of its workforce at a time, saved millions on real estate costs by allowing its employees to pursue flexible work at coworking spaces.
For Workers: Enjoy the Flexibility but Know the Policies
While coffee shops are the often the go-to for telecommuters, they often don’t provide a productive environment for mobile workers, especially if they’re accustomed to working in an office setting. Coworking spaces provide the perfect balance between the coffee shop and the cubicle; business amenities and networking opportunities but in a more free-form, less buttoned-up setting that’s perfect for the new mobile workforce.
However, before you fire up WorkSnug and rush off to the nearest shared office space, be sure you know your corporate policies, particularly when it comes to data protection. You may not be allowed to connect your work-issued laptop to a strange network without utilizing a tool such as a VPN, or there may be restrictions on what sorts of programs you can share company information to, such as cloud-based file storage or note-taking applications. Before venturing out, identify your company’s policies, usually maintained by IT, and reach out to them if you have questions or concerns.
For more information about the pros and cons of telecommuting, download PGi’s latest free eBook, “The Yin Yang of Telecommuting,” featuring a guest chapter from WorkSnug’s San Sharma!
Photo Credit: Josh Hallett