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What’s Next? The Distributed Workforce is Here to Stay

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Stay-at-Home orders are easing. Employees are ready for business to resume. And yet, much of your displaced, remote workforce is – well – now a distributed workforce.

Some of your remote employees are thriving in the home office and want to stay remote, and others are itching, possibly anxious, to get back to an office environment.

There is much speculation as to what future business looks like and many differing opinions, but all agree it will look very different in a post-COVID-19 world.

According to the CNBC|SurveyMonkey data, large majorities of workers in the consulting & research (85%), insurance (84%), advertising and marketing (73%), finance and financial services (70%), legal (68%) industries have been doing their jobs remotely as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Among these same workers, most report wanting to either work from home all the time even when it is safe to return to the office or at least wanting to work from home more often than previously. In the tech industry, 25% prefer to remain remote.

With some distributed workers desiring to remain remote and other businesses choosing to leave some employees at home due to social distancing, business leaders are considering:

  • What are my options for minimizing fixed costs and maximizing cash flow?
  • Do I keep my distributed workforce remote? If so, how do I keep us connected?
  • What opportunities do I have for creating stability in this new reality which benefits employees and clients?
  • How do I go about minimizing risk and maximizing productivity?

The workplace will evolve for these distributed workers, and maintaining flexibility in the process will be key.

Below are workspace considerations as you continue to build your business and manage a distributed workforce.

 

Stay Agile: Look for Contract Flexibility and Overhead Reduction as Your Business Scales.

 

The economy has taken a beating, and we are all looking for ways to reduce overhead and manage cash flow. Therefore, many companies have requested changes in their lease terms.

In a head-to-head comparison of shared office vs. traditional office, coworking has proven to be a cost-saving alternative for all company sizes from satellite branches to small teams to startups. Rent is only one factor when choosing an office location. Other expenses include internet, office furniture, maintenance, utilities, janitorial services, and amenities. With all costs considered, a coworking office can be up to 30% more cost-effective. As a result, Companies are minimizing risk by tapping into the feature.

As companies determine whether distributed employees will remain remote, considerations are being made for:

  • how many employees will return to the office
  • how to properly social distance returning employees

Flexible workspaces typically provide options that easily accommodate your evolving workforce with no long-term contracts.  In addition, some even offer month-to-month options.

Whether your business needs to downsize while the economy recovers or you need to employ more staff, there are flexible options available in the marketplace. Search for an office that offers flexibility and ease to scale up or down as your needs evolve.

 

Consider Gap Space:  Find workspaces that allow your distributed employees access on an “as needed” basis.  

 

Even if your team has adjusted well to working from home (WFH), there are times when the distractions and isolation impact productivity… Flexible office options allow you to fill in the gaps when the downsides of WFH outweigh the upsides.

Isolation and distractions are two of the main reasons people choose to find alternatives to their home office.

With kids home from school, there are multiple distractions, and even though we’ve all grown used to meeting our coworker’s family members during videoconference calls, too many family interferences can be a problem.

Some gap options can include an office that provides videoconference call rooms.  Also, consider access to meeting spaces that allows social distancing and can be used for team and client meetings. And, for some employees, simply having a place to work outside their home can boost productivity.  Look for flexible offices that provide daily usage of private offices or designated desks.

In short, finding easy access to workspace options for your remote employees can boost productivity and morale.

 

Reduce Debt Liability: For businesses that plan to maintain a distributed workforce long-term, consider establishing satellite offices.

 

According to CNBC|SurveyMonkey, 62% of workers in the technology industry called it “very possible” for them to work from home – easily the highest of any industry.  Many businesses discovered the value of a distributed workforce and will choose to keep many employees remote.

Have you considered setting up a satellite office for your distributed employees?

For many companies, a large centralized office footprint can and will be reduced. Some corporations will choose to reduce the overall office debt by establishing satellite offices around the country.

For example, one technology company headquartered in California chose to set up satellite offices at coworking offices in Chicago, Dallas, and Salt Lake City.  This allowed them to grow their business footprint without a huge liability on their balance sheet. It also reduced employee travel during the pandemic.

Accessing a shared workspace as you expand your business to a new region, allows you to add a professional address, access office space, and grow a satellite or regional office – all without the burden of a long-term contract.  As they say, cash flow is king, and flexible office space allows you to allocate resources responsibly.

Whether you are keeping your remote workforce remote or are starting a new business, establishing a satellite office can support those who work from a home office.

The Bottom Line: Flexible Office Space Solutions Provide No Debt Liability with the Multiple Benefits

 

In summary, there are many advantages for businesses and their employees who have access to flexible office space, and, especially considering a risk-averse mindset, there are key financial advantages.

Most shared offices offer short-term lease options, sometimes as little as one month. This can preserve the financial margin for working capital and business expansion.

Flexible office space is scalable to your business needs. Therefore, you only pay for what you use. Plus, you receive the full benefits of a big-office infrastructure, community, and energy.  As your business evolves, so does your workspace. They are minimizing risk for you and your business.

Shared office space helps businesses stay leaner, are adaptable and streamlined, and are, by design, flexible to meet the needs, in a post-coronavirus business world.

 

About Us

If you are one of those itching to get things in order and return to work, give us a call at 817.416.7170.  We are happy to take you on a virtual tour!

The LIFT Office is a coworking and flexible workspace in the center of DFW in Grapevine, Texas. We are a dynamic community of influencers, entrepreneurs, independent professionals, consultants, and freelancers. Learn more at www.theliftoffice.com

 

Article Referenced:  Op-ed: The next Silicon Valley exodus – Over 25% of tech sector wants permanent work from home.  Published Tuesday, May 19, 2020 12:34 PM Updated, Wednesday, May 20, 2020 10:26 AM Laura Wronski, research science manager, and Jon Cohen, chief research officer, SurveyMonkey

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