Remote workers are facing challenges unlike any we’ve seen in the last hundred years of business. In the era of COVID, corporations are struggling to balance the demand of fulfilling their economic business mission, while successfully harnessing their most valuable resources – their people — who are now remote, displaced and isolated. How do we stabilize this new normal, while achieving success, for both remote workers and their companies?
Coworking spaces have been connecting seemingly disparate groups into cohesive communities for over a decade. The typical coworking space offers proven solutions for remote workers looking to use dedicated space to work or re-connect within the business community. By partnering with local business and government leaders focused on the collective growth and success of our community, coworking spaces are popping up around the country. They are supporting a wide variety of workers – corporate teams, freelancers, small groups, creatives, entrepreneurs, digital nomads and more.
Distributed teams and their HR departments have been reporting the following challenges: 1) worker isolation, 2) distracting remote home environments, 3) culture disconnect, 4) inconsistent productivity, and 5) the inability to collaborate. These challenges need a solution that is flexible and dependable.
CHALLENGE: Worker isolation. Remote workers are struggling to feel connected in the vacuum of distanced officing while working from home. This feeling of isolation can influence other complicated issues, like feelings of distrust amongst their own teams about what’s a fair and equitable distribution of the workload across their team.
SOLUTION: The coworking spaces offer options for remote workers to feel re-connected to other human beings; on their terms. Perfect for both introverts and extroverts, the coworking space offers connection on-demand, when & where it’s needed. Members can choose how and when to engage based on their comfort level. Coworking delivers the best of both worlds; focus for when you need to deliver, and human connection for when you need to re-charge and collaborate.
CHALLENGE: Distracting home environments. Zoom meetings have showcased just how challenging it can be to stay focused when working from home. While pets walking across the desk during a team meeting are heartwarming and children bursting into a room during a video podcast are entertaining, there comes a time when these become more of a distraction rather than a productive component of our business life at home.
SOLUTION: The coworking space is structured to provide focus while on-site, supporting each coworkers freedom to concentrate, create and collaborate their way. Remote workers have the flexibility to choose between open desks, dedicated semi-private workspaces or private offices. Communal areas are commonly used for casual conversations, while collaborative meetings can be held behind closed doors in a conference room. The structure of the coworking space lends focus to the coworking community.
CHALLENGE: Culture disconnect. Remote workers can feel disconnected to company culture while at home, because of sheer physical isolation. Feeling connected to something larger is essential to our success, and oftentimes this means having another human from your “tribe” close by, or a dedicated space that is easy to use and convenient.
SOLUTION: Blending into the existing coworking culture can be easy; the varied mix of coworkers ranges from remote workers to freelancers to solo-preneurs to other corporate teams who all inherently agree on the core values of inclusion, focus, growth, and simplicity. Connection happens at organic levels as remote workers begin to interact with other coworkers within the space. Coworking spaces that offer flexible small team spaces help connect everyone in support of their success.
CHALLENGE: Inconsistent productivity. Remote workers struggle to be productive on a consistent basis when the work/life lines continue to blur. It can be hard to turn off your workday when you’re working from home, i.e., living-from-work.
SOLUTION: At the core of coworking spaces is the ability to offer dependable services and amenities, which in turn supports coworkers need for stability and execution. When the coworking space handles all of the details of a work environment, remote workers or teams are freed up to focus on what’s important – their business. Working amongst a diverse community of other coworkers helps promote structure and discipline, sparks inspiration and fuels both commitment and determination.
CHALLENGE: Inability to collaborate. The number one reason remote workers want to head back to the office in the era of COVID is the desire to collaborate in-person. Companies can’t support this demand either because their facility is closed, or they lack COVID safe protocols. While not true for everyone, we know there are certain audiences are more significantly affected by the lack of collaboration than others.
SOLUTION: Coworking memberships are structured to support collaboration at every level, through access to conference rooms, exclusive networking events and business programming. Intentional, collaborative teamwork can be a core element to your success. In a coworking space, there is no shortage of collaborative opportunities.
By utilizing the growing number of available coworking spaces around the country, companies with distributed teams can begin to nurture thriving relationships with their employees. Addressing these 5 common challenges and solving them for your team will yield nearly immediate results. The cost-savings reality is that the distributed team model means reduced overhead and increased talent pool for companies while simultaneously offering remote employees more flexibility in work arrangements. The benefits for both groups are significant.
Giving remote workers the space and support to be their most authentic selves will result in employees feeling more committed than ever to the company that helped them thrive in the most tumultuous time in our work history. And isn’t that commitment the very foundation of our best work?
Check out next month’s blog about coworking, Tucson, and COMMON Workspace.