In a recent article from The New York Times, the author discusses the challenges faced by businesses in providing effective feedback to employees amidst this remote work revolution. The struggle is real: some companies are reverting to a no-remote policy. Others have given up their office leases. New research emerges everyday as to which approach is best for employers and which is best for employees (spoiler: they aren’t the same.)
The article looks at companies that have to continue to adopt flexible and remote work policies, and how managers have had to adapt their feedback strategies to maintain engagement and productivity.
If it's TL;DR, the key takeaways from the article include:
- The importance of clear communication: With remote work, managers need to be more intentional with their feedback, ensuring that employees understand expectations and receive constructive criticism. This may involve embracing new communication tools and platforms.
- The benefits of regular check-ins: Scheduled check-ins, whether daily, weekly, or monthly, help create structure and facilitate ongoing communication between managers and their teams. This can lead to improved employee morale and increased productivity.
- The role of technology in facilitating feedback: Tools like video conferencing and instant messaging can help bridge the gap created by remote work, allowing for more effective feedback and collaboration.
- The value of empathy: By acknowledging the unique challenges of remote work, managers can better support their teams and promote a more inclusive and understanding work environment. Empathy can help to prevent misunderstandings and foster stronger working relationships.
The big conclusion we can draw is that the shift to remote work requires systemic changes in how businesses deliver feedback to employees. By focusing on clear communication, regular check-ins, and empathy, managers can effectively navigate this new landscape and support their teams.
But the entire time I was reading the article, I was practically yelling, “What about coworking spaces?”
We just established that there are clear and present challenges and a need for innovative strategies to deliver effective feedback in a remote work environment. But one thing this article leaves out is the ability of the third space to facilitate exactly that.
Coworking spaces offer an alternative solution that combines some benefits of both remote work and traditional office environments.
Here's a comparison highlighting the advantages of coworking spaces in light of the key takeaways from the article:
- Facilitated communication: While remote work requires intentional and clear communication, coworking spaces naturally foster in-person interactions, which can lead to more effective feedback and collaboration. This can help mitigate misunderstandings that might arise in a fully remote setting.
- Networking opportunities: Coworking spaces provide a unique environment where professionals from various industries can connect and collaborate, which is not as easily accessible in fully remote work or traditional office settings. This can lead to new business opportunities and knowledge sharing.
- Flexibility: Like remote work, coworking spaces offer flexibility in terms of location and hours. This can help employees maintain a better work-life balance without the need to commute to a fixed office location.
- Structure and routine: While remote work can lead to feelings of isolation and difficulty in maintaining a work-life balance, coworking spaces provide a structured environment that separates work from home. This can help improve productivity and maintain a sense of routine.
- Access to resources: Coworking spaces typically provide access to shared resources such as meeting rooms, office equipment, and high-speed internet, which might not be available or consistent in remote work settings or require significant investments in traditional office spaces.
Those of us in the coworking industry already know all of this. Coworking spaces offer a hybrid solution that combines the flexibility of remote work with the social and networking benefits of traditional office environments. They also provide a structured setting that can facilitate better communication and feedback, making them an attractive option for both employees and employers.
So now our job is to educate everyone else! But seriously, it’s important to blend this messaging into your marketing and your strategic value position.
Employers want both proximity and flexibility for their employees.
That means that coworking space owners need to focus on highlighting the unique advantages and features that cater to these specific needs.
So how do you fold this into your marketing strategy? How should this language and need be represented in your web site, your brochures, your social media?
Some of this is marketing best practices, but fed through the lens of employers and teams looking to deliver a solution that meets the needs of employees as well as the company’s desire for more effective feedback and growth opportunities.
- Emphasize the benefits of coworking: Clearly communicate the advantages of coworking spaces as options, such as improved communication and collaboration, networking opportunities, flexibility, and access to resources. Showcase how these benefits mean membership at your space can boost productivity and employee satisfaction.
- Showcase the variety of workspaces and amenities you offer: Highlight the diverse range of workspaces you have available, such as private offices, open work areas, and dedicated desks — catering to different needs, personality types, and preferences. More over, focus the amenities you provide, such as meeting rooms, event spaces, high-speed internet, and office equipment, which add value to the employer's investment and reduce their overhead.
- Offer customizable packages: Create flexible membership plans that cater to various employer and employee needs, such as part-time or full-time access, hot-desking options, and group discounts. This will demonstrate that your coworking space is adaptable to the unique requirements of different businesses.
- Promote a sense of community: Develop a strong community aspect within your coworking space, organizing networking events, workshops, and social gatherings. You know we believe in this more than anything. Events and programming help to create a sense of belonging and connection, making the space more appealing to both employers and employees. And they are what differentiate your space from an office rental.
- Highlight success stories: Share testimonials and case studies from businesses that have successfully transitioned to your space, showcasing the positive impact on productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall business growth. They should be an evergreen part of your content marketing strategy.
- Offer trial periods: Encourage employers to experience the benefits of your coworking space firsthand by offering trial periods or discounted rates for their teams. This can help overcome any initial skepticism and build trust in your space's offerings.
- Partner with local businesses: Collaborate with nearby businesses to offer exclusive discounts and services to your coworking space members, such as discounted gym memberships or deals at local cafes. This can further enhance the appeal of your coworking space and help establish it as a hub within the community.
You know it. We know it. But the world at large still doesn’t quite see coworking and flex space as the future of work.
The third space option is the ultimate solution to the conflict between flexibility and beneficial collisions of in person work.