These past two years in pandemic mode have fundamentally changed the way people work. If you had traditionally worked out of an office, you found yourself working from home much more than you ever have. According to a recent Gallup poll done at the end of 2021, 45 percent of percent of full-time U.S. employees worked from home either all (25%) or part of the time (20%).
And the results have been positive. Remote workers report less stress, more focus, and a better work-life balance. For some, remote work has led to increased productivity and improved job satisfaction, particularly for those working in technical jobs that require minimal teamwork.
There are lots of nice things about the flexibility and focus working remotely allows, but there are also challenges. Take it from this extravert – being alone can be tough!
One of my association clients has been hiring their newest employees from out of state. It is hard to find exactly the right talent and not being confined geographically has helped them get the right people into the right jobs. For them, full in-office events will now be quarterly. So how do they best support the employees who are alone in their home offices?
Consider the option of co-working!
Coworking as a trend has been gaining steam. Coworking has always been an option for entrepreneurs and solo/single shingle folks, freelancers, and startups. But now, with more employees working remotely, it could be seen as an opportunity for the corporate employed.
Let’s look at two coworking options – a physical convenient coworking space that employees can go to, or a virtual space people gather on their favorite virtual platform.
The first option is to use a physical coworking space. Uber and Instagram got their starts in coworking environments. Many years ago I worked for a Toronto based software company as part of their sales team. I was offered a co-working space in an established international coworking office. I remember I was so excited to see other people, have a coffee station, and be able to fax (that tells you how long ago it was!)! Here are some benefits of coworking offices:
- Change of scenery
- Fully equipped with office furniture, wifi, and amenities
- Flexible conference space
- Reduced isolation
- Collaborative environment with positive energy
My other suggestion is co-working online. This option has been great for me! This whole past year I have been co-working with a small group of entrepreneur friends on a weekly basis. I established a set Monday Zoom invitation where we all get together to work together, remotely. Consider forming remote groups that schedule productive work virtually. Here are some of the benefits:
- Accountability & Support
- Reduced isolation
- Social fix from like minded community members with good energy
- Sounding board when challenges arise
- Less likely to wander off task when there are people getting stuff done too.
Companies will likely be bringing more workers back into the office as the vaccination numbers increase and we get back to whatever “normal” will be. The tide has turned, however, and as workers enjoy the flexibility and advantages of being remote and as companies continue to hire talent outside of their geographic area, remote work and all of its advantages and challenges are here to stay.
If you have remote staff or are implementing a hybrid model permanently, consider suggesting co-working as an option. You just might find the results for some to be highly advantageous.
Let me know how you help your employees handle the isolation being remote creates. If you would like more ideas on how to help your employees be more productive and connected, reach out to me at email@example.com.