Imagine a work culture where team members can connect, irrespective of where, how and when they work. The traditional idea of a workspace is rapidly transitioning from 9-to-5 to a decentralized workplace model. Today’s businesses are modernizing and evolving to a remote workforce and a flexible working culture to hire and retain talent.

According to LinkedIn’s Global Trends 2019 report, in the last 4 years, there is a 24% increase in the number of people who consider flexible work arrangements as an important factor in evaluating a new job. The same study reveals that there is a 78% increase in job postings on LinkedIn mentioning “work flexibility” since 2016.

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From a candidate’s perspective, more flexibility in working practices directly co-relates with their loyalty towards their employer found a recent Deloitte Survey. Source

Having a decentralized workforce with flexible working has several benefits. As per the same LinkedIn report, flexibility in an organization improves retention, work-life balance and productivity, thereby making the team members happier, healthier and more efficient. Source

Why a decentralized workforce make sense?

Considerable evidence supports that decentralizing the workforce by providing flexible working hours has a positive impact on employee performance. The three key areas in which flexibility improves the workplace experience are:

#1. Reduced stress and improved health

According to a survey by FlexJobs, 81% of employees feel flexible working hours help them be a better partner to their significant other. Flexible hours allow them to manage other responsibilities better and devote more time to their families. Additionally, a Stanford study revealed that employees who had flexible work options used fewer sick days than those without flexible hours. Employers thus benefit from a team of healthier employees who can perform their tasks better.

#2. Greater job satisfaction

Flexible working hours allows the staff to work as and when they choose as long as they complete their allotted tasks. This helps them feel more connected to their work and makes them happier about their job. The State of Flexible Work Arrangements by Zenefits showed that 73% of employees experienced higher workplace satisfaction with flexible working conditions. Source

#3. Workspace and productivity – a direct correlation

When your team members are less stressed out and feel happier at their place of work, their productivity and motivation to think innovatively go up. Over 80% of respondents out of 18,000 working professionals in 96 countries stated flexible work hours to improve their productivity, as per International Workplace Group. Source

The result of increased productivity is a greater focus on creative, out-of-the-box thinking that could help them develop more innovative solutions to workplace challenges.

Let’s take the example of Finland, which has embraced agile work culture for more than two decades. An earlier report by Grant Thornton found that 92% of companies in Finland allowing the workforce to choose their working hours as compared to a mere 18% in Japan.

This change is largely attributed to the “Working Hours Act” passed in 1996. The staff had the right to pick their work hours, starting or finishing 3 hours prior or later. To stay ahead of the curve, the new “Working Hours Act”, to be implemented from 2020 will give full-time workers the right to decide when and where to work from, for 50% of their working hours.

Since then, larger companies such as Dell, Virgin and PwC have embraced the concept of the decentralized workforce, in addition to startups and SME’s. Nationwide legislatures of countries around the world, including India, UK and Australia are promoting the agile working concept.

The self-made multimillionaire Kevin O’Leary, a notable Shark says, “I don’t care if you walk in the office at 9:00 or where you work from, I care that you get the work done. My employees are all around the world. Nobody does 9:00 to 5:00 anything anymore. They just need to get the work done. I want to give them a task, a goal and a timeline. I don’t care how or when they do it. That’s how the economy will roll.”
(https:// www.instagram.com/p/B09Mr7DgA13/?igshid=w1562pjk80lo)

The role of co-working spaces to help companies include a flexible working culture in their organizations

In simple terms, co-working is defined as a collaborative and voluntary workstyle. They are professional spaces where employees from different companies share the premise, commonly needed resources and collaborate on projects. In a way, it is a shared workplace with independent activity.

A JLL survey predicts over 13 million people to work out of co-working spaces by 2020. The demand for flexible workspaces is expected to grow by 40 to 50% in India. As per the report, startups will contribute 100,000 seats by 2020, while freelancers and SMEs will bring 1.5 million users worth of demand.

The three key reasons fuelling the rise of co-working spaces among businesses of various sizes are:

#1. Increases productivity by reducing the commute time
– Not just startups, corporates and SMEs are flocking to co-working spaces. Indian unicorns such as Paytm, Swiggy and Byju’s and corporates such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services allow their staff to work from shared workspaces near their home.

For 88% of the professionals, flexible workspaces reduce the commute time and unnecessary travel. This way, they can manage other commitments more efficiently, get to spend more time with their family and enjoy a fulfilling work-balance. Source

Further, gyms, networking events, seminars, pet-friendly spaces and gaming zones allow employees to unwind and return to work refreshed. The communities these spaces encourage help the members have a greater purpose, where they get in touch with a wide range of professionals. These include future employees, mentors, investors and clients.

#2. A professional yet flexible environment
– Unlike working at a café or from home, smart co-working spaces are designed for people to work in, thereby creating a professional yet friendly atmosphere that boosts productivity. The goal of a co-working workspace is to build an ecosystem to help the members concentrate on their work while providing a flexible environment.

Founders, freelancers, contract team members, corporates and startup folks, people from a multitude of domains work together, fostering collaboration and creativity.

To suit the working style, a wide range of seating arrangements including cubicles, open spaces and standing desks are available.

#3. Completely equipped with professional amenities
– These affordable commercial spaces are equipped with all basic facilities such as a business-class printer, high-speed internet, round the clock security, meeting rooms and parking.

Simultaneously, the duration for renting the space is flexible. Most co-working locations today have monthly rental rates as well as weekly, daily or even hourly rates. This way, employees can occupy the space as and when needed.

The integral role Kontor plays in helping companies become successful

Kontor’s mission is to help companies grow, scale and become successful. The strategic co-working locations and affiliations will enable companies to hire employees from multiple parts of the country, for setting up offices and satellite branches. Each of the Kontor locations is designed keeping in mind the aesthetics and productivity. The smart office space allows the users to embrace different work moods and needs, from quiet spaces to think, unique areas to collaborate, standing desks, bean bags and typical workstations.

Customizable membership plans ranging from a few hours, days and months, provide the users with the flexibility of time and space. With 24-hour accessibility, the users can choose how long they would want to work.

Conclusion
As the decentralization of the workforce becomes increasingly common across industries and geographies, coworking spaces are emerging as the ideal solution for both employers and employees. Companies of all sizes looking to enhance employee satisfaction and productivity will benefit from the facilities and flexibility that a co-working hub has to offer.

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