One of the quickly evolved popularized phrases about the way we work is the “consumerization of work space.” This is the idea that we are all exposed to experiences that shape our expectations around how our work place should support us.
It is the idea that if we have the ability to choose, we will work in the space that best meets our requirements on a given day. Our needs may be the best coffee, the most well-equipped meeting rooms, the right collaboration technology, the space that allows me to bring my dog, or the space that has the healthiest lunch options.
So what do consumers want?
We recently surveyed members of shared workspaces—mostly working out of coworking spaces and serviced offices. We asked them to identify the amenities that are most important to them.
Some of these may not be possible in your work environment (we understand the challenges with pet-friendly policies!) but we want to share our findings with you as food for thought as you are thinking about evolving your workspace and designing your way into competing with the hip local coffee shop, the city’s best coworking spaces, the business lounge at the athletic club, or even just the home office.
- 30% of respondents said “Saving time commuting to and from work” was their 2nd most relevant reason for using a shared workspace. Two-thirds of members that pay for their own membership (vs. having an employer onsite that pays), commute less than 20 minutes.
- When asked to rank their top reasons for joining a shared workspace, the top reason was “Professional setting” which we infer means benefits such as:
- No incessant coffee grinders in the background
- A reason to put on an "outfit" vs. stay in the yoga pants
- Not having to ask someone to watch your laptop when you use the restroom
- No dirty laundry sitting in a pile across the room, taunting you
- It probably also means - I enjoy the flexibility to work where I want to and when, but I need the infrastructure to support my work. I need good wifi, comfortable chairs, meeting rooms for working with team members or clients.
- The second reason respondents reported for joining a coworking space was “Having other people around.” Current research suggests that loneliness is becoming an epidemic. Loneliness manifests itself in a number of emotional and physical ways, none of which contribute to employee happiness or productivity.
- 55% of respondents reported using a private office or a team office to get their work done in a shared workspace. While people are choosing shared workspaces to avoid the isolation of the home office, they often still opt for dedicated spaces in which they can control distractions. Coworking ≠ open plan layout.
- Members enjoy a well-designed space that makes them feel comfortable and stylish. The third most important environmental attributes for members was “aesthetics.” Many shared workspaces have elements that are more reminiscent of home or the local coffee shop vs. a corporate setting. We know that workers are blending home and work more and more and this is likely reflected in their aesthetic preferences.
Your employee population will have its own set of unique values, preferences, cultural norms and geographic influences. Get to know what’s important to them to understand how to offer the right set of choices and how your corporate office can compete on its set of distinct advantages.