Technology has led to a lot of changes in how businesses are run, most noticeably in the way technology is now used by most industries and has become a part of peoples daily work life.
People are now also able to work from anywhere with the use of laptops and the internet, and a lot more people are able to work for themselves particularly in the technology industry, as they can get work from clients all over the world online. This increase in worker mobility and people working for themselves has also led to a change in how businesses are run and how office space is used. Increasing amounts of people are choosing to work from home or outside of the office which means resources can often be wasted on office space which isn’t always being used to capacity. These changes have led to a rise in two concepts – Coworking and Hotdesking.
Coworking is when a group of individual workers, often self-employed people, use a shared workspace known as a coworking space. These spaces are an office or shared workspace used by individuals as their main place of work providing amenities and facilities, and also providing the sense of community that can often be lost when working alone. Although a relatively recent concept, at the start of 2012 there were over 1200 workspaces in operation worldwide, with America and Europe the two places they were most popular. Coworking spaces are based on a mutual trust and sharing of values and objectives, and can help create the community feeling often lost when not working in an office, as well as giving users access to electric, internet, copiers etc which may cost more to use at home or in coffee shops etc. But unlike working in an office, users have a choice over who they cooperate with and how much as they are all independent from each other, and so the environment is more self-directed, collaborative and flexible than a traditional office. There are also financial and business related reasons to use a coworking space, as there are people there who may share similar problems and can offer solutions, as well as the possibility of making business contacts through other users. As well as the financial and business reasons to use a coworking space, it is also good to have contact with other workers instead of being lonely working at home where you may also be distracted by housework or children etc. Coworking spaces are usually hired out for a monthly fee and are often hired out for 3, 6 or 12 month periods, but they can also by rented daily. However daily use may not result in the same feeling of community and the benefits that go with it.
Hotdesking is similar in ways to coworking but is often used in offices where people work together and for the same company. It is used where mobile and home working is in place to provide spaces where employees can come in and do work in the office when needed, without having a permanent desk. With hotdesking, a workspace is provided which guarantees access to the facilities needed by the employees to do their jobs – this might be a desk, a workplace, office or training facility – but no one ‘owns’ any particular desk, and people can sit at any desk whenever they need to be in the office. This can help reduce costs for the company as it usually leads to a reduction in the amount of office space used, and can often create a more business-focused awareness amongst employees. However there are a few important factors that must be in place to ensure hotdesking works, including offering employees flexible working options, not letting people put personal artefacts or files on desks, and greater time flexibility. It is also a good idea to supply laptops rather than desktop computers so workers will have access to any software they may need for their job and so can’t lay claim to any certain desk, and also insure they can access their own phone line from any desk if necessary.
There have been many changes throughout the years to how and where people work and Coworking and Hotdesking are just another example of how things can change. Whether or not they will last remains to be seen, but for now they are growing in popularity around the world. For this reason they are viable options that should be considered and may help a business greatly.