Commentary

Coworking or work from home?

The where, when and how of work today is more fluid today than it has ever been.

January 04, 2018
people sitting around a table in a coworking space

Remote work has grown to encompass many destinations — from home offices to coffee shops and, increasingly, coworking locations such as WeWork. Adoption of the model has grown a lot in recent years, ranging from freelancers and startups to global corporations. The tech sector in particular has been an early adopter of the concept, with companies such as Airbnb and IBM leveraging the model with enthusiasm

Coworking may be an attractive option for some tech companies for these reasons:

  • Lowering initial out-of-pocket expenses compared to traditional leases
  • Providing swing space for short-term needs
  • Serving temporary or contract employees
  • Promoting more face-to-face collaboration
  • Accommodating business travelers with convenient drop-in options
  • Reducing admin and support staff costs
  • Improving speed-to-market for time-sensitive space requirements

Coworking may also allow companies to better manage their remote workforce, increase innovation and recruit and retain talent. Innovation can be fostered via more personal interaction, more exposure to new business concepts and more sharing of ideas. A coworking setup can help with workforce management and make for a better employee experience, promoting more socializing and collaboration.

Recruiting an employee to work in a coworking space requires management to focus on corporate culture, which can present challenges. But offering coworking as an option to prospective and existing employees can be seen as a strong selling point. It can be viewed as a real perk, especially for those who would otherwise work from home or face a long commute to the office. Additionally, for companies, the network in many locations may provide a pipeline for talent, especially for tech companies looking for a young, creative and digitally native workforce.

While coworking may enable tech companies to recruit digital talent or begin a cultural transformation, a critical piece of achieving these objectives is the connectivity to the broader organization. It provides an interactive, community-focused experience for employees but that experience won’t benefit the broader culture if done in isolation or if it’s pushed on business units that perform more focused, heads-down work. For that reason, many corporate users are opting to incorporate some elements of coworking into their broader workplace strategy to get the best of both worlds – transforming the cultural experience while keeping more traditional elements of the workplace to serve those employees intact.

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