New Ways of Working has released the results of its latest benchmarking survey that examines how leading organizations around the world implement, manage, and profit from alternative workplace practices, settings, and locations. The survey offers a better understanding of why and how organizations are employing alternative workplaces.

New Ways of Working defines Alternative Workplace as the combination of nontraditional work practices, settings, and locations that supplement or replace traditional offices. Alternative Workplace practices include mobile work inside and outside the office, hoteling, work from home (telecommuting), and work from third party places, among others. Virtual offices are part and parcel of the mix.

“The study confirms many of the trends picked up in the previous benchmarking study. Organizations are still adopting AW at a rapid pace, but the shift towards informal programs and more employee-related values signal that they believe that employees, given the necessary technology, can make the best choice of how, when and where to work,” says Joe Ouye, co-founder of New Ways to Work. “The danger is that important changes of work policies and practices may be overlooked.”

Here are some of the major findings from the survey:

  • Alternative workplaces continue to be adopted at a rapid pace, but there is a surprising rise in the number of informal, ad-hoc implementations versus more formal programs.

  • In 2011, 32 percent of the surveyed organizations have informal programs, compared to only 18 percent in 2009.

  • Perhaps consistent with the rise of more informal programs, organizations are engaging with groups more directly and supporting them with social Web sites.

  • Organizations continue to shrink the percentage of employees with assigned seats (down to 66% from 76% a couple years ago), and consistently, also increase the use of mobile work settings.

  • As expected with the continuing economic pessimism, cost savings and related space savings are still driving alternative workplace programs. The top three barriers to these programs remain organizational, managerial, and staff concerns over change, however, the levels of concern are dropping, with managerial concerns dropping the most.

  • The perceived value of the alternative workplace programs is consistent with their drivers, with cost savings as the top perceived value, but there is significantly more focus on employee related values, such as work/life balance, attraction and retention, and satisfaction.


Check out this video on alternative workplace strategies: