Activity Based Coworking

what if employees could work at a coworking space, at the office?What’s in a word? Or a phrase?

Over the past thirty years companies of all stripes and sizes have embraced the concept of activity based working (ABW).

ABW is a workplace strategy where employees do not have a fixed office or workstation, but rather work in different areas of an office depending on the type of work they are doing at a given time.

ABW offices provide much greater choice and flexibility to employees, which younger knowledge workers clearly want today. And in light of the fact that many corporate employees don’t actually go into the office on a daily basis, ABW also allows companies to reduce their real estate footprints. Rather than having a 1:1 (worker to desk) ratio, companies can get away with a 2/3:1 ratio. Over time the cost savings can be enormous. One company we spoke with recently was looking to save $500M annually by adopting a more coworking-like approach to officing.

The Next Phase: Activity Based Coworking

At the same time, companies around the world have been parking their employees at third party coworking spaces (such as WeWork). In effect, those third party coworking spaces become (along with coffee shops and peoples’ home offices) part of an extended activity based working philosophy that includes all sorts of different spaces (on campus and off).

But what if a clearly designed coworking space was plopped into a conventional office as one of several different types of work areas? Based on conversations we are having with a few companies, we are now calling such design interventions activity based coworking (ABC). That is, an on campus (in-firm) coworking space becomes just one of a variety of areas on a corporate campus where employees can work. We think that it will be the preferred work area for many employees, but only time will tell.

For companies who want their employees to stay tethered to colleagues (and culture), ABC is a natural solution. At OpenWork Agency we have recently launched a new offering (OpenWork.Space) that focuses exclusively on building out ABC solutions for companies. Customized to amplify a company’s culture, it is a corporate workspace designed around the values of the sharing economy. It’s about time!


This article was originally posted on LinkedIn by OpenWork Agency Partner, Drew Jones, PhD.

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