Summary:

Coworking spaces — shared office-like workspaces that offer desks, Internet access and social interaction — are popping up all over the world and are proving to be a popular choice with freelancers. But businesses working with distributed teams should consider the benefits of coworking spaces, too.

coworking

Coworking spaces — shared office-like workspaces that offer desks, Internet access and social interaction — are popping up all over the world and are proving to be a popular choice with freelancers and independent professionals. But businesses working with distributed teams should consider the benefits of coworking spaces, too. They can have team members working out of professional, physical office space (instead of their homes, coffee shops and anywhere else they can think of), at rates a fraction of what it would cost to maintain dedicated office locations.

Helping Your Team Consider Coworking Spaces

With a telecommuting staff, you likely don’t have a lot of input into where exactly your team works. However, it may be worthwhile suggesting local coworking spaces as an option to your team members. For some telecommuters, working from home is a dream; it’s easy to get work done and productivity skyrockets. For others, though, being out of the buzz of the office can make it harder to get everything done. Just having that environment can be important. If you see a team member flagging, a coworking space may make the difference.

Finding local coworking spaces for your team is generally a matter of consulting the Coworking wiki, which serves as a clearinghouse for coworking information. Not all coworking spaces are created equal, but they will offer a more professional environment than a home office or coffee shop. And for some people, just having to leave the house can make a world of difference.

Of course, if you’re suggesting team members use coworking spaces, you’ll need to be prepared to cover the costs, but  coworking spaces are generally fairy inexpensive, and can be offset against the costs of setting up and maintaining team members’ home offices.

Security Considerations

It’s worth reminding your team members about a few factors if you’re encouraging them to use coworking spaces. As an organization, security may be more important to you than it is to a particular coworking space one of your team members might use. Your team may need a reminder or two about how your organization prefers files to be handled and other security concerns that go along with working outside a more controlled office. Questions like how the wireless connection in a coworking space is secured can also be important.

In most ways, however, working from coworking spaces is similar to any other remote location a telecommuting employee may work from. The security concerns are about on par with what you might need to discuss if a team member is working out of her local coffee shop, for example.

Photo courtesy Flickr user hyku.

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