Blog Post

Responding to Requests for Coworking Stipends

With more and more organizations relying on team members who don’t come into the office, companies will see a greater number of requests from telecommuters asking for for support or assistance in purchasing equipment that will help them to do their job more effectively. One such request is for a stipend to subsidize the cost of using a coworking space. As coworking spaces become more common and their benefits become more widely-known, it may be worth creating a standard policy on just how you’ll respond when an employee asks for such a stipend.

It’s a Matter of Circumstance

Depending on the circumstances, the best option may simply be to focus on the financial aspect: if the team member in question chooses to work outside the office when your organization continues to maintain an office space for them, it’s difficult to financially justify helping them to use a coworking space as well. If a team member was brought on board without any possibility of providing office space, however, it may be a different matter; the cost of using a coworking space for a telecommuter is likely less than the cost of providing a dedicated office space for the same person. Coworking spaces can provide inexpensive office space for telecommuting employees.

What Does the Coworking Space Provide?

It’s also worth discovering what the coworking space offers your team member that isn’t available elsewhere. For many people, a coworking space is simply a way to have easy access to a work space that isn’t in their home — without having to buy numerous cups of coffee. Such a space can be extremely beneficial: not all employees are able to work effectively from home.

But some spaces provide other benefits, too, ranging from a stable and fast Internet connection to access to printers and other technology that an individual may not have in his home. Depending on what your team needs to function, even part-time access to a coworking space may be beneficial and cost effective. However, it’s worth considering coworking spaces on a case-by-case basis, because each space is different. For instance, they will have varying security measures, which may be a concern for some organizations.

The Costs You Can Expect

For most coworking spaces, prices are pegged to the amount of time a member will use the space — there’s usually a daily rate as well as an option or two for monthly access. The exact price tends to vary by geographic region: it’s more expensive to use a coworking space in New York City than in Denver. That said, plans providing full-time access are rarely more than a few hundred dollars per month. If you choose to provide a team member with the funds to use a coworking space, the budget can be kept to a reasonable level.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Mike Schinkel