Co-working spaces are notorious for housing budding entrepreneurs and tech startups, but they’re becoming an increasingly popular option for remote workers. According to our report on the mobile workforce, 16 percent of millennials who work remotely say they frequently use co-working spaces.
While it may seem like an interesting choice for employees to work outside of the office only to work in another office, co-working spaces have been found to foster a sense of camaraderie and autonomy that often yields better work than a traditional office setting.
Co-working spaces offer plenty of benefits, but organizations need to arm remote workers with the right technology to ensure optimal connectivity. Business leaders should take note of the top collaboration technologies (video conferencing, email, phone and instant messaging) used by the remote workforce to stock their co-working space with the necessary tech.
If you’re considering moving employees to a co-working space, here are a few technologies that can help remote workers feel less isolated and more productive.
1. Video Conferencing
More than one-third of mobile workers worry their lack of presence in the office will result in fragmented communication with colleagues. To prevent this sentiment, employees working from co-working spaces need to find ways to create clear and direct communication with their team members.
Video conferencing is one way to accomplish this because it provides opportunities to communicate visually. Workers can reap all of the benefits of being able to see, hear and interact with their colleagues on a more personal level, something often lacking with traditional audio calls.
2. Collaboration Tools
Used by 31 percent of remote workers, collaboration tools like instant messaging are another channel that fuels quick and efficient communication. For instance, IM is a casual yet logical way to ask and answer one-off questions while building relationships with colleagues. Leveraging collaboration technology and group chat platforms like Cisco Spark and Microsoft Teams allows employees at co-working spaces to communicate with their team in real-time.
Screen sharing is also recommended as it allows employees to instantly share information with colleagues from the comfort of their co-working space. Consider screen sharing platforms that allow teams to exchange images and videos and live share their screens. With this technology, employees can better brainstorm, collaborate and work on projects while at their co-working office. Just be sure that employees are reminded about potential security issues surrounding screen sharing at an unsecure, shared space.
3. Project Management Software
As telecommuting has become more common, one frequently cited challenge is the ability to feel connected to projects going on within the team. Project management tools like Trello or Evernote can keep projects on task while providing managers with better visibility into their employees’ work.
A solid project management platform is a must-have for any employee working from a co-working space since it allows teams to remain connected and manage the status of a project – from anywhere, at any time.
4. Cloud-based Network
Investing in a cloud-ready network is necessary to keep employees connected while working at offices like WeWork. With a fully-managed IP network, organizations can enable their workers to collaborate from anywhere. Organizations need to ensure their network is secure, especially for employees working off-site. HR departments should work with IT specialists to establish a network security protocol and safeguard sensitive data. With a reliable cloud-based network, organizations can better manage employees working in geographically-dispersed offices.
Co-working spaces are certainly gaining popularity among mobile workers, but it’s crucial that companies equip workers with the right set of tools so that both parties reap the benefits. By using collaboration platforms to connect with coworkers, video conferencing to create a personable experience and a cloud-based network for real-time communication, employees can maximize the creativity and productivity that co-working spaces already promote.