As director of the coworking office space that housed Facebook’s first foray into Ireland, Kelly has her finger on the pulse of trends in the way we work, and shares her insight here
There is constant speculation on what’s next for the world of work. A simple Google search on the future of work renders 856,000,000 results. Experts are predicting artificial intelligence will take over, that sensors will monitor employee wellbeing, and retirement will be a thing of the past. In reality the future of work can be summarised in one word – flexibility.
A flexible future
Flexibility in the workplace has been a key trend over the past few years, but it will soon be the only way to work. A study by FlexJobs said that 76% of people would leave the office when they need to get important work done.
However, flexibility goes beyond location, it’s about proving employees with options. One major trend is flexible working hours. Gone are the times of 9-5 and 1pm lunches on the button. The world is far too fast paced for that.
Strict working hours can be bad for business and bad for employees. Flexible hours offer better work life balance, more productive staff and better results. The key with flexible workspaces is to give people choice. One employee may work better from 9-5 at her desk, while another may be more productive early in the mornings at a coworking space. The good employees will know what works best for them, and should be encouraged to operate that way.
In Glandore, our private office and dedicated desk members all have fobs to our buildings and can come and go as they please. This might mean early starts to conference call Sydney, or working late into the night ahead of deadline.
When coming to work is about more than just showing up, things get done, and employees are happier.
It works both ways
Workplace flexibility works both ways. For employers it results in happier, productive and loyal staff. In the same FlexJobs study, 82% of employees say they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. Clearly, flexible work schedules can be a powerful tool for both recruiting and retention. Flexibility is so desired by employees that 30% would take a pay cut if it meant a more flexible work environment.
Flexible workspaces allow for employees to have lives outside of work. They allow people to schedule appointments and run errands; to spend more time with family, particularly children; and reduce stress. They also encourage employees to put productivity first – tasks and results are the focus rather than clocking in and out.
In many flexible workspaces there is an increased focus on workplace wellness. In Glandore we have a wellness programme for all our members with seminars on mental health and mindfulness, fitness classes, and a running club.
Coworking is key
Coworking seems to be a major player in the drive to flexible workspaces. By the year 2020 the number of people working form coworking spaces is said to reach a whopping 4 million. Research shows that people in coworking spaces are more productive due to the high energy and results-driven mindset that is generated by a collaborative environment.
These creative and shared spaces allow members to bounce creative ideas off one and other while also sharing the struggles and success of other companies on the same level. Valuable learnings can be shared while growing the sense of community and ideas for possible collaborations.
While working from home can be a lonely task, coworking offers a solution to the problem of isolation. Coworking provides a sense of community. An open and varied coworking space can encourage conversation. As Ireland’s start-up community continues to thrive, and freelancing is the new full-time, coworking spaces have never been so sought after.
Corporates follow suit
Coworking spaces are not just for freelancers and entrepreneurs any more, they provide big benefits for big business too. Microsoft recently announced that they would be moving 30% of their workforce to coworking facilities. Microsoft gave over 300 employees a choice to work in a more productive space, but also a space known for flexibility and mobility across New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Portland.
Major players KPMG and GE have both moved their staff to coworking spaces as a way to increase flexibility. As an advisory firm, KPMG wants to be close to startups that could quickly scale up and become clients. Employees are thriving from the collaborative environment and it gives them a new space to be creative, so far removed from the corporate climate.
About the blogger
Clare Kelly is the Director of Glandore. Clare joined the family business in 2008, which her father founded in 2001. Clare originally studied occupational therapy and believes that her background in occupational therapy has resulted in her passion for workplace wellbeing.
Having worked in Glandore for almost ten years Clare has seen a number of companies progress and grow from tech superstars like Twitter and Facebook to luxury lifestyle brands like Bulgari and Beats. One thing, at the heart of every organisation, and something Clare is an expert in is company culture. At Glandore, she has created a hub for companies to collaborate and grow while still remaining true to their values and culture.
Glandore facilitates an immediate set up in fully fitted, innovative workspace with a focus on flexibility. Glandore offers members the ability to scale from one to 350 persons in prime Dublin & Belfast city centre locations, from a business address to coworking and private offices on a ‘pay as you grow’ basis. See glandore.ie for more information.