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Remote working isn’t going away. Pre-pandemic, it was a growing trend, with remote employees making up anywhere from 5.3% (those who typically work from home) to nearly two-thirds (those who work remotely some of the time) of the US workforce. Now, following global lockdowns and the biggest work-from-home experiment in history, remote working is set to become a defining feature of life today.
Of course, there are different types of remote working – and now’s a good time for leaders to decide which will best benefit their business. Below is an exploration of four of the most common locations for remote work, from the home to a dedicated business centre.
1. Working from home
Sitting at the kitchen table or perhaps at a desk in a ‘home office’ – for many of your employees, these will have been their remote working experiences for a large part of 2020. Homeworking was a popular option before the pandemic and will likely still be appealing – at least initially – for some workers for the next few months.
The pros: Before COVID-19, working from home was seen as the holy grail of working environments by many employees. The time spent not commuting was frequently cited as a key benefit, as well as being able to concentrate without office-based interruptions.
For businesses there are benefits, too, including cost savings, as your business doesn’t have to pay for office space.
The cons: The pandemic made some of the less-appealing realities of working-from home clear. Working from the living room sofa or kitchen table makes it harder to detach when the day is over, say the experts. “I think we need to stop calling it ‘working from home’ and start calling it ‘living at work’,” said PhD student Heather De-Quincy in June 2020, in a tweet that has been liked 170K times.
Working from home can also be a literal pain in the neck for your employees. A multi-country study by the Eurofound and the International Labour Office found that a lack of appropriate equipment in a home office can also lead to health concerns, including neckache, eye strain and tendon pain in the wrists and fingers.
From a business perspective, homeworking can lead to a lack of collaboration. Despite a plethora of technology enabling chats and messages, not having face-to-face interactions with staff and clients can start to add up. Even in Silicon Valley, where the tools that allow for remote work are being built, many companies are strict about requiring their workers to come into the office,” reports The New York Times. That’s because they believe that creativity and innovation take place when people interact in person.
2. Working from a non-office environment
Bookshops, cafés and libraries have all been popular spots for remote workers over the last few years. In return for a few cups of coffee, your employees can stay close to home and enjoy the local community while they work.
The pros: Working from anywhere with a WiFi connection enables workers to be truly flexible. For many workers, this is seen as a huge benefit, meaning you may be able to hire a more diverse group of talent from around the world, rather than just your usual geographical pool.
The cons: When your employees need to meet a client or host a presentation, a noisy coffee shop or silent library don’t always project the most professional impression. There are also security concerns, too. Public wi-fi is notoriously unsafe, and can they really know who’s listening in to their phone calls when they’re discussing confidential client information?
3. Working from a coworking space
Coworking spaces, situated in a business centre, offer the structure and amenities of an office with the flexibility to vary the amount of space needed as your business scales up or down. Because they are located near to where your employees live, they’re appealing in terms of work/life balance. Pre-COVID, coworking spaces were growing in popularity with SMBs, especially in the tech and startup sector.
The pros: Coworking spaces offers your workers all the office necessities, including a strong, stable internet connection, power source and ergonomic setup in terms of desks, chairs and lighting. It’s also a more professional environment for meeting with clients or holding a group discussion.
Another key perk of coworking space is making your business feel like part of a community. Not only does this boost morale and create a sense of belonging for your staff, but it can be great for making new business connections and learning from your peers.
The cons: Some employees may find themselves distracted by the buzz of the space. Others may dislike being around strangers.
As a business, you may have concerns about your competition being under the same roof. “[Seeking] an environment suitable for your type of work, you’re potentially going to run into people you’re competing against for business,” explains Jeff Pochepan, president, Strong Project to Inc. You may also decide your business would benefit from a more dedicated business centre once you grow past a certain size.
4. Working from a private office
Business centres are fully equipped offices available close to where your employees work. They offer a professional setup, and were particularly popular, pre-pandemic, with established businesses in the legal and financial industries.
The pros: The low maintenance nature of a business centre is a key benefit. If you want to move into a new office and get to work immediately, it enables you to do so, without worrying about furniture or setting up a printer. Administrative tasks, such as ordering office supplies, is also taken care of. Other pros include the ability to scale on demand: many private offices in particular are designed with customisation in mind.
In terms of security, business centres have strong IT systems in place to keep your data safe. And when it comes to the professional environment, it’s a good place to meet with clients or hold meetings.
The cons: Some of your staff may miss the buzz of a coworking space or the familiarity of working from their own home.
The world had to work remotely, and it worked. Now it’s time to do it on your terms, with a network of professional workspace that enables people to work closer to home. Find out how Regus can support your ambitions today.