9th July 2015

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Categories: Engage for Success Blog

Staying Engaged When Working Out of Office

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Working from home – sometimes, we all need a day where we can swap our sturdy office chairs for a comfy sofa, or work from the haven of our own personal office space.

However, with the innovation of freely available and secure Wi-Fi, it’s more than possible for people to head out into public spaces on a regular basis and work wherever they like! Furthermore, it’s possible to retain a virtual presence with tools like video conferencing software too.

Last year, we conducted a survey to gain insight into businesses’ attitudes to out of office working, which found that 52% of employers now offer remote and flexible working schemes. We were also involved in a great roundtable discussion with the Guardian recently which debated ‘Is the Office Dead?’ to which the overarching sentiment was, as Oddbody Consulting managing director David D’Souza put it: “The office isn’t dead – it’s just becoming far more fluid.”

The necessity for an office space has gradually reduced over the years, with many workers now able to perform their jobs wherever they want armed only with an internet connection and desktop PC, laptop or tablet.

The engagement factor

The challenge is of course, staying engaged when not working in the office. In light of this, we at Powwownow have made it our mission to find the very best places to work from in London when not in the office. Cafes came out at the top of the pile, showing that workers in the capital like a slice of cake to accompany their free Wi-Fi. However, it was the innovative co-working stations that were the second most popular option. These spaces are particularly engineered towards making sure that employees are able to feel engaged when working away from their desks, by offering an environment that is both creative and focused, while providing other great business opportunities such as conference pods and meeting rooms.

The benefits

The rise in popularity of co-working stations reveals a change in attitudes towards working away from the office. Employees’ engagement levels are no longer simply measured by the amount of hours that they spend glued to their monitors at their desks.  That’s the beauty of out-of-office working; you’re able to spend an hour or a day in a co-working station – the amount of time that suits your needs.

The challenges

Whilst people may be engaging well with their own work, it can still be challenging to achieve some integral face time with bosses and other employees. The solution here is video conferencing, we’d say, as well as having the freedom to pop in and out of the office once the rush hour traffic has died down a little. It’s only natural that some employers would have reservations about remote working however, which centred on employees who work out of office becoming isolated to an extent. When in the office, employees contribute to the culture of the company, becoming more invested in the creation and feedback of internal processes and policies. Whereas employees who aren’t often in the office tend to be out of the loop, and sometimes become disengaged from the company. These concerns highlight the need for strong management in order for remote working to be successful. This was a key takeaway from our latest survey on the topic, with 23% of people believing that good management was pivotal in a successful remote working scheme. Employers who chose to work remotely also have to repay the trust that their employees have shown to them, by staying engaged when out of office and retaining a virtual presence whenever possible.

What does the future hold?

Through our research and guides looking at the out-of-office habits of the nation’s capital and its citizens, we can see that more and more companies are beginning to see the vast benefits of remote working schemes, with one of these being attracting and retaining talented workers. As the hub of everything trendy and cutting-edge, London has thoroughly adopted out of office working, as shown in our Smarter Working Guide. However, other cities such as Manchester are adopting similar practices with spaces such as Ziferblat, the world’s first pay-per-time café opening up in the capital of the north.

Author bio:

Gareth is a highly creative individual who has developed a strong reputation for transforming brands and developing marketing teams to deliver exceptional growth. With 17 years of industry experience, Gareth has a wide range of marketing knowledge having lead teams in the US, Europe and Asia. Gareth previously worked at GlaxoSmithKline as Director of Ecommerce & Direct helping drive their digital marketing and e-commerce strategy. Gareth has previously worked in Senior Marketing roles for Electronic Arts in the fast moving Gaming sector and in his early days worked for Carphone Warehouse.

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