The digital age is transforming how, when, and where work is performed. Organizations that insist on having their workforce in designated office settings from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week belong to a shrinking minority. Those that elect to do so find it is more difficult to recruit candidates, including top performers, and retain workers. They also struggle to achieve gender diversity (viz., worker mothers often find it more difficult to go to a physical office five days a week) and to retain and maintain engaged workers.
Data shows that the adoption of remote work continues to increase. In a Gallup survey conducted last year, workers who indicate they spend a day or less each week working remotely shrank over survey findings from 2012—falling to 25 percent from 34 percent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the number reporting that they work remotely four to five days every week rose to 31 percent from 24 percent during the same timeframe. The same Gallup survey also found that the workers expressing the highest levels of engagement spend between 60 to 80 percent of their time away from the corporate office.
Managers and workers both concur that remote work drives up productivity. A study by SurePayroll reveals that 86 percent of workers say they prefer to work alone to hit maximum productivity, while two-thirds of managers believe that employees who work remote increase their overall productivity.
These trends are not going to reverse. Research by Remote.co projects that remote workforces will continue to grow: 60 percent of the office-bound workforce is expected to work remotely by 2022. Millennial workers, who now comprise over half of the workforce, place work-life balance above financial reward, and being able to work remote is expected by many. These millennials grew up with technology and tap various technologies that make remote work easier and more productive. As a result, mobile, hyper-connected workstyles dominate the workplace.
Companies also have reached the realization that time sitting in an office does not equate to business performance and that work can be done from anywhere, from any location, at any time, using any number of devices. Thus, businesses increasingly measure employees based on their contributions to bottom-line measurements.
Yet, as companies more towards flexible workplace options and full-time or partial-time workforces, new challenges arise. For example, in the survey by Gallup that reveals workers who have remote-work options are more productive from those who have none, workers who spend 100 percent of their time away from company offices report the lowest levels of engagement.
To address the needs of the remote workforce, many organizations are turning to coworking spaces and rented meeting rooms and day offices such as Davinci Meeting Rooms. Let’s consider some of the options when it comes to remote workers:
1. Periodic Interactions for the FT Remote Worker. For workers that spend the preponderance of their time working remotely, coming into a rented day office or coworking space once or twice a week affords them a chance to interact with other workers—whether other members of the same company or workers from other companies.
2. Fast-Growth Startups and SMBs. More and more small businesses and fast-growth startups are opting to forego permanent physical office space. Coworking spaces give them an opportunity to collaborate as a team, while not tying them to an expense lease. Further, with many workers not in the same location or working remote a certain number of days per week, rented meeting spaces give their companies an opportunity to bring their teams together for collaboration on a periodic basis without the expense of a permanent office lease.
3. Satellite Locations. Historically, businesses elect to lease permanent office space when expanding into a new location. But this is cost prohibitive and time-consuming. A better alternative is to use a virtual office solution such as Davinci Virtual Offices for an address, mail receipt and forwarding, lobby directory, and more and rented day offices or coworking space for your employees in that new location.
4. Team All-Hands Meetings. As mentioned, fast-growth startups and SMBs often don’t need permanent office space for all or some of its workers. Yet, for all-hands meetings, which take place periodically, those same companies need a professional location to hose their workers. In this instance, rented meeting space with a lobby greeter, business services, and presentation and collaboration tools are a must.
5. One-on-One Meetings. Sometimes, managers need to meet with their workers for face-to-face interactions—whether to map out future strategies and projects or to discuss confidential performance reviews. Here, rented meeting space or day offices are an immensely better option than a local coffee shop for the fast-growth startup or small business.
I’ve been fortunate to work for companies and managers for the past 15 years who understand the value of the remote workforce. Not only have I worked remote for a specified amount of time, but I’ve been given the option to hire employees who are remote. And some of my best and highest performing employees have been those remote workers. If you’re not leveraging the potential of the remote workforce today, now may be the time to start.