Before you decide to work at home…

Think you want to work at home? Think you are ready to manage remote workers? Consider these articles first.

Image courtesy of Flickr {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}

  • Inc. says employees want something difference in their office space. Something more flexible that can change as the work teams and projects change. This office’s design allows maximum flexibility. No more expensive wall tear-downs and painful packing up and moving whenever someone new comes in or a project is completed.
  • NPR’s recent report on curated coworking shows freelancers are flocking to shared workspaces. They estimate 30% of the workforce is working on their own. The trend is so prevalent that coworking spaces are becoming more selective. You might be screened out of a coworking space because you don’t work well with the others in the space, or you don’t add enough to the community they’re creating.
  • Then there’s this article about Twitter moving into a Detroit coworking space as a cost-effective growth strategy. Companies are anxious to grow but nervous. Not having dedicated office spaces are the ultimate in company flexibility.
  • According to Gallup’s research, you need to socialize for six hours a day. Coworking spaces provide a flexible opportunity to replace the corporate office with an equally important socialization method.

What this means for employees or candidates

Before you take the plunge, consider what being truly alone will be like over the long haul. Find some coworking spaces close to you and check them out. Talk to some of the folks there and see what their experiences were. Think through where else you’ll get that social connection. Are you active in your church, in your child’s PTA, in your Homeowner’s Association? Your interviewers won’t hire you if they don’t think you can handle it, but they can’t come right out and ask for fear of HR reprisals about getting too personal. If you want the job, you have to address it without being asked. Be careful not to get too personal here but let them know how you will manage the social side of working alone.

What this means for managers

If you are remotely managing someone who works from home, remember that having a friend at work is critical to employee engagement and employee engagement is the primary value that you bring to the company. (Gallup’s research here.) If your employees ask for a few days in a coworking space, don’t immediately cheap out and say no. Access to a coworking spaces can increase their engagement and potentially provide them with great back-up equipment if something goes wrong at home. Plus, it provides you with a unique network of other highly motivated, self-disciplined people. If you need a graphic designer for a quick one-time job, they may be sitting right next to your remote employee.

Related articles

(Curious side note. Why would WordPress’s spellcheck keep changing my “coworking” text to “cowering”!? Freudian. While that may be how many managers react when they hear the words “you’ll be managing this person remotely”, it does actually happen. Get with the times WordPress!)

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