In September 2021, the Dutch government has published an exhaustive study analyzing the impact of remote work and predicting it is here to say. Having the possibility of working from home and at the office is fantastic. We know the perks: additional flexibility and improved work-life balance. However, it also has disadvantages. Sometimes, our home office is not inspiring enough, or we get distracted, or virtual communication is inefficient. At the same time, going to the main office is not always the most desirable option to meet colleagues or clients. Most conversations about hybrid working models focus on these two options and it seems everything revolves around either working from home or at the main office. However, they neglect a very important option: remote workspaces. And they can make all the difference.
Challenge 1: Working from home is not convenient for everyone
When we mention ‘working from home’, an image of a cozy living room with plants, and a nice cat comes to our minds. We see a nice and wide kitchen table, and a person sitting with an impeccable posture, finishing a report with an enviable concentration. However, we know this is not the reality. Working from home is not for everyone. Living in a tiny apartment, having noisy housemates or children running around, or having just plain boring places are the day-to-day life of most people. Assuming that working from home works for everyone is not realistic.
Solution: Giving access to a distributed network of workspaces allows employees to choose where they want to work on a specific day. During their ‘remote work days’, employees can use the remote workspaces (either for the full day or for a couple of hours), and have the possibility of working in a workplace that is convenient for them. In essence, it levels the playing field for employees by offering suitable workspaces that fit different preferences and personal circumstances.
Challenge 2: Reduced communication effectiveness in small teams
Small teams that need to collaborate tightly might find it hard to be limited to working from home when they are not at the main office. Although virtual communication works wonders (thank you, technology), some sessions are more productive if held face to face. Teams need the flexibility to have impromptu meetings with their coworkers at convenient locations without having to rely on necessarily going to the headquarters.
Solution: A network of distributed workspaces allows teammates to stay connected to get their work done. Meeting face to face at a convenient location reduces the need to commute for long distances, while giving the possibility to build relationships, clearly communicate goals, and stay focused. Flexibility is crucial and a third option of having a network of distributed workspaces has the key to provide it.
Challenge 3: Blurred boundaries between work and personal time
Space and activity are connected. When you go to the office, you visit a space to work. Once you finish, you accept and assume that your activity needs to change. Work is done, you move on to the next activity. Working from home has blurred the boundaries between work and personal time. Doing the laundry during lunchtime might take a bit longer than anticipated, meaning you must work longer at the end of the day to get the work done. Without having to travel, it is very common to accept endless meetings, even if they are scheduled later than they should be.
Solution: Distributed workspaces offer the possibility to have a place where employees can go, get their work done, and then go home, to the gym, or enjoy free time with their family and friends. This transition helps to set the boundaries between work and personal time. With a focus on well-being and supporting employees to have a healthy lifestyle, remote workspaces help to shut down the computer, and draw the line between work and personal time (even for those having difficulty ‘switching off’ from work!).
Challenge 4: Working remotely potentially leads to isolation
Being at home can be very productive and efficient. Without chit-chatting at the coffee machine and saving commuting time, working from home can be very convenient. However, it can also make you feel lonely. A full day joining zoom-calls, or just writing that final report can make even the most introverted of us feel isolated. With an either at home or at the main office policy, employees might feel that their social interaction is limited to a specific day a week. Creativity and productivity increase with ‘serendipity’, and inspiring conversations with others.
Solution: Adopting hybrid working models does not mean that employees need to spend full days at home. Depending on the day, it can be possible to work from home during the morning, and cycle to a convenient remote workspace to meet a colleague. What if employers could give their employees the possibility of booking a meeting place with a nice view for an afternoon to work together on a deliverable? This way, employees could avoid feeling isolated or restricted to meet their colleagues face to face only when they are supposed to be at the main office.
Challenge 5: Lack of inspiration
Being inspired is key to make us feel motivated. When inspired, we believe more in our own capabilities, improving our self-esteem and optimism. However, remote working makes it difficult to feel this way. Even if you have a dedicated working space at home, working from home can drain your inspiration. Either because you feel lonely, or you are not taking a necessary breather from time to time, or just simply because you are feeling tired of looking at the same street over and over again.
Solution: Having the possibility of changing scenery during their ‘remote’ working days can be an enormous inspiration boost for your employees.Giving access to curated workspaces next to nature areas, offering a panoramic view of the city, or just walking to a workspace where they can work and have a tasty cappuccino can summon the muse again. And we know this is positive for your motivation and to keep the creative juices flowing. Of course, getting this inspiration at the main office is possible. However, commuting to the headquarters is not always the most convenient option. Distributed workspaces allow offering places in-between that provide both inspiration and convenience.
Exploring the possibilities of providing a curated network of distributed workspaces can help to tackle the challenges of remote work. Would you like to know more? Check localdesk.eu or follow us on LinkedIn!