The phenomenon has been documented in study after study: happier employees are more productive workers. For remote companies, that means taking fresh approaches when it comes to where work gets done, and possibly adding options like coworking spaces to your repertoire of workspace options for your employees.
Many coworking spaces were started to give freelancers and entrepreneurial types a workspace with reliable connectivity and a range of other amenities. Increasingly, they are being embraced by companies of all stripes looking to give their employees more workspace flexibility.
An article in Harvard Business Review offered a recent assessment of the reasons people seem to thrive in coworking spaces. The Harvard article was based on interviews with founders and managers of these types of spaces, as well as surveys with several hundred people who use them around the country.
Employers across many industries are embracing flexible and virtual work. FlexJobs has been tracking the phenomenon for some time, including ranking the top 50 coworking spaces in the U.S.
Here are some reasons you might consider encouraging remote teams to use coworking spaces:
More Control of Job Schedule
Your employees may find it empowering to work in a space where they have a high degree of control over when they do their assignments, without a supervisor literally looking over their shoulder.
As noted in the Harvard Business Review article, many of these spaces are accessible around the clock. Your employees can break away for a child’s school event or a long workout at the gym. Or they may find coworking spaces more amenable when they’re looking for a quiet place to focus on work.
Connecting with a Like-Minded Community
For freelancers in particular, coworking spaces can be great for getting a “people fix”—in other words, connecting with a community of nontraditional workers and building a great network of “co-workers.”
In fact, the Harvard Business Review noted, many coworking spaces focus on a “hospitality” element that’s all about making users of these spaces feel welcome and open to interactions with others that aren’t counterproductive to their work.
An Energizing Change of Scenery
If you’re considering offering coworking spaces to your employees as an alternative to your regular office space, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that workers can get a big boost of energy by working in a different environment.
As you work to manage remote employees, it’s helpful to remember that while working from home may be a feasible option for some employees, others may not have optimal work space or sufficient privacy to do so successfully. For them, coworking spaces could be a great way to do their work away from the everyday distractions of both office and home environments.
From conference room to more private work spaces, or even offices, workers seeking to maximize productivity may find a coworking space a great place to ramp things up. Advantages include freedom from household chores and a break from some of the typical distractions that working from home can bring—from ringing doorbells to children needing attention.
One upside: once employees have focused and produced in a coworking space, they may find it easier to more fully focus on children and the household once they get home.
Lower Commuting Costs
Employees who live closer to a coworking space than to your company’s office may benefit from having the option to work in an amenable space that’s closer to home. The potential cost savings aren’t just financial: your employees could also save hours every week that they’d normally spend getting to and from work.
Instead, that time can be more productively spent getting work done and, getting back to the notion of happy employees, spending that time with family and loved ones or engaged in personal activities that make their lives more balanced.
In short, as noted in the Harvard Business Review analysis, coworking spaces may be a smart way for companies to help workers find the space and support “to be their authentic best selves.”