- Jan 12 2016
In recent years, the coworking phenomenon has influenced the work habits and environment of freelancers, startups and other types of entrepreneurs and independent workers. The movement that changed the way we think about the “office” and even the concept of “work” has made its way into the corporate setting.
“Corpoworking,” coined by LBMG Worklabs is the corporate world’s take on coworking. Companies themselves are opening satellite drop-in offices, to give employees a respite from the traditional work environment. Whether employees need a space for a one-time meeting or a 4-month project, they are able to work in an alternative, collaborative and flexible environment – a far cry from buttoned-up high-rises.
When researchers at HR&D investigated the function and purpose of corpoworking in France, Switzerland and Germany in Coworking: What is the reality behind it?, key characteristics emerged. For example, as many corporate headquarters are often located just outside major city centers, corpoworking spaces near transportation hubs add an element of convenience to the hectic workday. Whether an employee needs a place to pop in following a client meeting, a team needs a convenient central location to work on a project or a working parent simply can’t squeeze in the commute everyday, well-located work sites can provide the solution to numerous logistical problems and help today’s busy professionals manage the work-life balance.
While the corpoworking concept isn’t meant to permanently nor entirely replace the traditional work environment, the chance to work in a different location for a day or a month can boost engagement as it gets people out of their daily routines.
While some companies may choose to create spaces solely for their own employees, others open their doors to freelancers and other independent workers to diversify the environment, expand networks and share complementary skill sets. The contact with external workers introduces employees to individuals whom they may not otherwise meet, exposes them to different ways of working and points of view and encourages them to open their minds and adapt to their new environment. Truly benefiting from these mixed settings however, requires management to facilitate opportunities for individuals with various professional backgrounds to engage with each other.
Researchers also noted that the provision of a “third workspace,” or a neutral territory, helps to ease tensions among employees working in groups and provides the calm and secluded setting necessary to concentrate on intensive projects.
One of the most important factors that researches observed in the European workspaces is the freedom that this environment affords employees – not only the freedom to come and go as they please, but also the freedom to behave as they please. For example, the open space setting at Villa Bonne-Nouvelle, Orange France’s corpoworking site, includes TVs, videogames, foosball tables and kitchen and snack corners. While some could think this environment promotes laziness, HR&D researchers noted that employees rarely abused their freedom and used these types of distractions solely to decompress or to jumpstart the brain and creativity.
While the corpoworking movement is still in the very early stages of development, companies are already seeing new ways of working, innovative practices and alternatives to standard operating modes emerge.
Today’s forward thinking companies take the lead from the coworking movement and apply the collective concept to the modern corporate environment.
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