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Summary:

Coworking is a great way for freelancers to work in an office setting without having to sign up for office life, but it can also be a useful for remote teams. Some companies are now supporting remote staff with a coworking stipend. Here’s why.

coworking

Coworking is a great way for freelancers to get together and work in an office setting without having to sign up for office life, but it can also be useful for remote teams looking to try something other than a work-from-home arrangement. Some companies are now supporting remote staff with a coworking stipend that can defray or subsidize the cost of using these facilities. It’s a smart move, and one that will benefit your team and your company in a number of ways.

  1. Coworking is like a non-stop trade show. Conventions and trade shows are the perfect place to get your company’s name out there and make connections that could possibly form the backbone of your future business. Because of the revolving-door nature many coworking spaces, coworking can be like a lite version of padding the trade show floor. Connections made at coworking locations can lead to partnerships, lucrative sales contracts, or high-caliber talent acquisition.
  2. Coworking provides office structure without office stricture. With coworking, employees get an office environment that encourage structures, such as offering regular office hours and a sense of responsibility and professionalism, while also not conveying the often-constraining feeling of being babysat that too many traditional offices provide. It’s a best-of-both-worlds type environment that works especially well with remote teams who happen to be co-located, since they can much more easily work together while still feeling like a fully autonomous cell of the larger company.
  3. Coworking encourages work-life balance. Remote employees can actually suffer from a tendency not to put their work down at the end of the day, which, though it may provide benefits in the short term, will eventually have a negative effect on productivity and product quality. Encouraging workers to seek out a coworking space will help to divide work from home life, which will enable them to better leave work “at the office,” so to speak, and should encourage healthier work/life habits in the long term.
  4. Coworking is creative. Even if coworking remote workers don’t encounter anyone who travels in the same sphere, they can still be influenced by others around them. Being in close contact with other professionals in different fields is bound to result in some creative experiences, and even generate solutions that otherwise would never have been considered. Coworking space users interact and talk, and the flow of ideas is one of the better reasons remote teams should seek out and take advantage of these opportunities.
  5. Coworking is human. If you want your remote workers to be even better than those located at your physical office, the human factor is definitely something you can’t overlook. Regular, face-to-face human interaction regarding business-related matters is something that will never become unimportant for companies or individual employees; in fact, it may become what separates companies that just do well from those that truly excel as we move into a time when workforces see less and less of each other and the people they serve, sell to and buy from. Coworking ensures that remote teams remember the value of, and remain well-practiced at, human interaction, even if that just means knowing how to negotiate a shared work environment. It may seem like a small thing, but disconnection from even that most basic human experience is a very real possibility in our remote working future.

Any other benefits you can suggest, maybe from your own experience coworking as a remote employee? Please share in the comments.

Photo courtesy Flickr user hyku.

  1. James Saadi Monday, May 16, 2011

    Co-working also helps keep the day-to-day from getting stale. Something even as small as not being able to sit in the same desk everyday (common at co-working spaces) creates a little chaos in your working rhythm. At Google they forced us to change desks about once a year, throwing everyone into an upheaval….just what they wanted :)

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    1. Good point, James! Although some spaces do allow users to have their own desk. I think what’s even more useful is meeting a stream of new people with new ideas and viewpoints.

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