Your standard office job: high-level execs behind closed doors and lower-level employees grouped by department in cubicles, separated by partitions. Except… not anymore! More and more companies are adopting non-traditional work spaces. This includes everything from changing up the flow within the office itself to remote employees and coworking spaces.
What are Coworking Spaces?
Coworking spaces in particular are on the rise, and with so many benefits to both employees and employers, it’s no wonder.
For those not familiar, a coworking space is an office building that shares work space between multiple companies. Business owners have the option to rent the space based on their needs with short-term or even monthly lease options. This allows companies to have a base for their remote employees where they can collaborate (both personally and on behalf of their company) without a long-term commitment. This type of environment also appeals to freelancers, start-ups and entrepreneurs who want an affordable alternative to a traditional office space.
Coworking spaces, such as WeWork and Buro come fully furnished and often stocked with a variety of office-type amenities such as high-speed internet, dedicated mailboxes and storage, private meeting rooms, printing and copying capabilities, kitchens, coffee and cleaning services as well as perks such as snacks (and sometimes beer), networking opportunities and social spaces. Companies can choose shared or dedicated work space within an array of private offices and desk-type of layouts.
Many companies are turning to coworking spaces to allow them to decrease office-space spending and overhead while increasing their talent pool. With remote employees, businesses are not limited by location, so you can see why this option is on the rise. According to CBRE, “The Fortune 500 is engaged and intrigued.” You can expect to see a lot more of this strategy popping up in all types of different businesses’ portfolios.
Challenges of Coworking Spaces
This all sounds pretty exciting for the creative team as well as the head of the company. But while coworking spaces do have undeniable advantages, they also come with a few drawbacks.
Non-traditional work spaces such as a coworking environment are not for everyone. Some employees have a hard time focusing with the open office floor plan. Because spontaneous collaboration is encouraged in these spaces, the noise from different groups of conversations can be overwhelming to some. There is also a lack of privacy unless individuals are in a private office. And because coworking spaces come fully furnished, there is little wiggle room to customize the space to your particular style and comfort.
However, the biggest challenge for both the employees as well as the employer can be staying connected to the company and the brand. Due to the nature of the environment and the physical disconnect to the rest of the company, it can be difficult to keep coworking employees in the loop and make them feel they are part of the team. Fortunately there are many things you can do as the business owner to meet these challenges head on.
5 Solutions to the Challenge of Disconnect in Coworking Spaces
If you think a bit outside the box, you can find many solutions to help make your coworking employees feel part of the team. Keep them connected to your company and your brand with these five tips:
1) Engage Strong Telecommunication
Keep your remote employees in coworking spaces connected by keeping them in the loop. Share data and progress often. Include them on office emails. Have them participate in video conferences and your content management system. Having these tools at your disposal will make it seem as if they are just a few feet away from the rest of their co-workers, even if they’re on the other side of the country.
2) Promote Community
A sense of community is a very strong draw for many people. When employees are isolated, they may not care as much about the work being done, but if they feel as if they’re part of the work community, it becomes personal. Include your coworking crew in company-wide gatherings, events and retreats. Not only will this help foster positive collaboration amongst your coworking team, but also connect them to the rest of the company.
3) Be Present
Communicating often through email and video conferencing is a great way to show your presence and availability to your coworking employees, but being physically present really helps them sense they are part of the bigger picture. In addition to your weekly meetings and daily check-ins, be sure to make an appearance at the coworking space a few times throughout the year. This will not only help them be connected to your company and brand, but also help you understand where they’re coming from in their work by experiencing the environment first-hand.
4) Recognize & Share Accomplishments
It’s easy to feel disconnected when the rest of the company can’t share in your victories. Make your coworking team feel enjoy being part of THE team by recognizing and sharing their accomplishments with others in the company. Not only will this boost morale for your coworking team, it will also help foster team spirit and collaboration between them and the in-office team.
5) Nurture Brand Awareness
Promotional products are more than just free stuff people love; they help your company nurture your brand’s presence in and out of the office. For remote and coworking employees, this is crucial. Your employees are going to need office supplies such as notebooks, pens, markers, desk caddies, etc. You might as well take advantage of the opportunity to nurture brand awareness and be connected at the same time by providing them with these branded materials. It’s simple, easy, and effective. And if you really want to go the extra mile, provide high-end items that will come in handy for their unique coworking environment such as branded apparel, blankets, water bottles and even noise-canceling headphones.
Get in touch for more ideas on how to make your coworking team utilize your brand’s connection!