May 17, 2022 by Andrea Rajic
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If you’ve recently started hiring remote employees and want to implement a distributed workplace strategy, you’re probably facing the challenge of providing workspaces for employees, even if they won’t be the standard 9-5 offices. A flexible office environment is no longer just for freelancers — many companies are using remote workspaces for their employees.
How to roll out remote workspaces in multiple locations? How to convey company culture in a space that doesn't have your logo on the wall and branding all around? And most importantly, how do companies use remote workspaces?
We’re here to answer all these questions, so let’s dive right in.
The first and essential use case for remote workspaces is to provide employees with the options they need. The perceptions of work-life balance have changed in recent years, and the #1 benefit employees are asking for is flexibility.
This doesn’t mean they don’t want to leave their home office – it’s the notion of a fixed workday at an office desk that doesn’t sit well. Additionally, not everyone has an ideal work environment at home (think working parents or caregivers). Some of your employees will surely benefit from a workspace where they can get focused work done.
In these cases, companies often decide to try out remote workspaces. They provide employees with access to hot desks in quiet common areas with plenty of natural light. Apart from stable WiFi and ergonomic furniture, there will be phone booths on standby for video conferencing calls. This scenario offers employees a chance to meet coworkers and connect, but the primary goal is to help them be more productive and do their best work.
Connecting and bonding with coworkers in a remote team requires deliberate actions and intentionality. Human connections at work are no longer achieved through a mandated 9-5 office schedule. For People teams across the world, this means taking a different approach than just leasing office space and fitting it with desks.
Enabling employees to use remote workspaces to work together and build team connections not only replaces the office but enhances the in-person experience. Now, employees are in charge of when and why they meet to collaborate, and this deliberate approach gives in-person encounters a bigger, stronger meaning.
Companies that use remote workspaces to facilitate encounters, collaboration, and serendipity report higher levels of engagement and better team cooperation. This often translates to remote teams working more closely together and achieving better performance, which is directly tied to overall business results.
Some companies see an increased team engagement thanks to regional champions. A regional champion is someone who's social and outgoing and who champions getting together with nearby team members to meet and socialize on a regular basis.
As much as distributed companies value asynchronous communication and remote work, they all recognize the need to get together physically once in a while. Apart from company-wide retreats that usually happen once or twice a year, they usually organize quarterly team offsites to help with team bonding, accelerate work on important projects, and help remote workers get to know each other better.
However, these events aren’t always easy to organize for People Operations teams. It takes jumping through administrative hoops to decide on a location, get everyone there, find accommodation, and secure a workspace suitable for both work and team bonding.
If a company is already using remote workspaces, it can facilitate and streamline this process. Most remote workspaces have different work areas within their scope, so you can organize an offsite where employees can do focused work and team-building activities. Finally, remote workspaces let People teams organize each event in a different city and venue.
Another way companies use remote workspaces is as a hiring differentiator. If you decide to hire remotely, the flexibility will surely attract candidates from all across the US (or even the world). Of course, you won’t have an office presence in every location your candidates are in, but there is still a way to showcase both your benefits and your company culture with remote workspaces.
You can fly the candidates into one of your hub cities and meet them in a coworking space your team uses often. This will allow the candidate to meet the team in person, get a feel of the culture, and see how you approach flexibility.
Another option is to organize a video call on Zoom but reserve a seat for the candidate at a remote workspace in their city. If you’re detail-oriented, you may order a warm drink and pastries from a nearby coffee shop to really nail down the candidate experience.
Companies use remote workspaces both to showcase flexibility as part of their company culture and advertise a perk that most employees find essential.
While we’ve covered some of the most essential use cases for remote workspaces in remote teams, it’s good to know the most common scenario is a customized one. In other words, companies aim to understand what their employees need and how they work together, so they can offer tailored experiences.
For example, some companies have a few small teams that need dedicated spaces for their day-to-day work. They provide these in several locations to meet the needs of those particular teams, while other employees get access to hot desks on demand.
Other companies have more complex team structures and are more granular in their workspace options, providing a range of options from hot desks, recurring meeting rooms, and private offices to different departments and employees. Unlike traditional offices, remote offices give companies the opportunity to tailor workspace offerings to employees’ needs.
And while we’re on the topic of traditional office spaces, three are quite a few companies that will continue to lease offices, especially in larger metropolitan areas. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t hire remotely.
The trick they use? Adding remote workspaces to the mix and leveling out the playing field for team members everywhere. For example, if a team in NYC has access to an office, it’s essential to provide remote workspaces for employees in other locations.
Additionally, combining remote workspaces with existing offices lets you compare and observe how employees use these different spaces and if their needs are changing.
As you can see, there are quite a few scenarios where companies leverage remote workspaces for their distributed teams. However, they all have one thing in common: the need to see and know more about how their workplace is doing.
The revolution in how we work also gives way to People and HR teams wanting to get insights and data into the workplace and make informed decisions about the future of work in their companies.
Remote workspaces are one side of that revolution, enabling employees to work when and where they want and employers to offer flexibility. On the other side lies the need for centralized management, transparency, and scalability.
And that is where Gable comes in to save the day. Companies who use Gable get access to hundreds of remote workspaces across the US, combined with a centralized management suite that streamlines the workflows of People teams and lets them:
Design a data-driven workplace employees will love
Give your team the flexibility they need and empower them to get together and connect. Control budget spending and usage centrally and use data to analyze what works best for your team.