What to Do When Working from Home Doesn’t Work
Working from home isn't a solution that works for everyone. Much has been written about the 21st-century workplace and how it looks dramatically different than it did just a few years ago. The 9-to-5 workday tied to a physical work location—assigned office or cube—was destroyed with the rise of the internet and rapid adoption of mobile devices. The lines between work and personal time are completely blurred, with work no longer occurring during a specified time frame and in a designated location.
Remote Workforce Is Here to Stay
A minority of companies continue to hold to the legacy belief that a remote workforce is unproductivity and non-collaborative. While a few companies have generated headlines by reversing remote policies and calling their remote workers to permanent office locations, they remain in the vast minority. Further, research data shows that remote workers are more productive and engaged—not to mention more likely to stay with their employers—than their counterparts who are tethered to their offices.
The fact is that a lot of remote work is a mainstay with many companies—consisting of both full-time equivalent workers and contingent freelancers. A Gallup study shows that 43 percent of the U.S. workforce spends at least some of their day working remotely, up from 39 percent in 2012. And this number is expected to exceed 50 percent by 2020.
Remote Work Isn’t the Answer for Everyone
Yet, working from a home office isn’t for everyone. As a starting point, junior-level workers who require direction and mentoring are going to struggle if they spend most of their days working remotely. Indeed, there is a good reason that most workers who spend most of their time from the home office are over 40 years old and experienced professionals.
Most professionals excel when given an opportunity to work from their home offices—from those who work 100 percent of the time from their home office to those who spend one day every week or two. But some workers admittedly languish when working from home.
The reasons for their challenges vary. In some cases, the quest for work-life balance takes an ironic turn, and remote workers suddenly find themselves working longer hours and with diminishing personal lives. In other instances, home offices lack the technology tools and administrative support workers need to succeed. And for those who periodically meet with third-party suppliers, customers, and contractors, a home office isn’t an appropriate location for business meetings (let alone workers wanting everyone to know where they live).
So, what are the options for solopreneurs who find that working from their home office has become a challenge and for businesses that have remote workers who are depressed and/or struggling to deliver on their commitments? Permanent office space is expensive and requires long-term commitments. Coworking spaces and day offices are much better options in most cases. Let’s take a quick look at some of the more prevalent use cases:
Find a location for regular team meetings.Simply being able to meet and interact with one’s larger team on a weekly basis may be all that is needed. A coworking space or virtual meeting room can be rented on-demand. And if you’re thinking that a hotel meeting room is better, think again. They typically cost 50 percent more and often lack the privacy professional teams need.
Need for professional interaction.For instances where remote workers crave professional interactions, coworking spaces, where multiple companies and professionals from diverse backgrounds are present, are great work locations.
Leverage meeting rooms.Most day offices and coworking spaces also have meeting rooms available for rent. Remote workers can book these by the hour, half-day, or day. At the same time, they also can use the day office or coworking space in the same facility when they are not in a meeting.
Technology tools.Not every home office has the technological tools a worker needs—from smartboards, to plasma screens, to reliable high-speed internet. Coworking spaces and rented day offices and meeting rooms come with these.
Administrative support.Remote workers can maintain a frenetic pace and sometimes need administrative services such as faxing, photocopying, color printing, and more. The ability to walk down the hall and engage skilled professionals for help in these areas can be a huge productivity boom for a remote worker.
If you’re a remote worker who has hit a wall working from your home office and need to shake things up, or a business leader seeking to find a way to get your remote employees who work from their home offices more engaged, you should look at coworking spaces and rented day offices. Of course, a great starting point is Davinci Meeting Rooms.