The Co-working Fix: Providing New Social Gathering Zones

By David Ashen Principal and Founder, dash design | November 13, 2016

In the U.S. more than one-third of the workforce has worked remotely. No surprise there. If you haven’t or don’t sometimes telecommute, chances are that someone you know has or does, at least occasionally.

Gallup, which shared the 2015 statistic that 37 percent of workers in the nation have worked off-site—that up markedly from the 9 percent that did so in 1995—also found that the average worker telecommutes twice a month, with 46 percent of remote workers doing so during regular work hours. It’s no wonder. Mobile technology has opened the way for on-the-go business owners, executives and others to work remotely while keeping connected with colleagues and clients. Yet, working solo has its limits.

Without the shared work environment of an office, social interaction with co-workers suffers and along with it, the potential for dynamic team-building. Working outside an office also can hinder opportunities to meet with clients for in-person collaborations and presentations to strategize and forward agendas. After all, although a wide variety of information can be shared among individuals and groups through tech and mobile devices, there’s nothing quite like the authentic connections that develop when people come together in face-to-face meetings. And when people connect, ideas are shared, solutions are discovered and innovations are spurred. More importantly, humans are social creatures and crave connections with other people. Working outside of an office, and the isolation associated with that, can cause a wide variety of physical and emotional issues.

Co-working at Hospitality Venues

Many hospitality venues have taken notice. Increasingly, they’re answering today’s heightened demand for flexible work spaces by providing on-site co-working environments, where people can work independently in shared or private spaces, in small or large groups, or in client meetings, all with the support of in-office services, like copier machines and projectors.

Never mind yesterday’s point-of-entry receptionist, dedicated office space and shared kitchen. Today’s hotels are taking another look at effective co-working spaces. Instead of focusing on how to incorporate traditional modes of work into on-site work environments, like providing shared administrative staff and mail management, hospitality venues now are paying greater attention to ways that maximize the working habits of the millennial generation, the largest group in the workforce. Think of hotel lobbies that blur the bar-lobby-lounge model and become flexible gathering, work and meeting spaces that allow for impromptu collaborations. Or on-site common and social spaces that invite people in and to stay put for engaging and collaborative work or play, allowing guests to participate in a range of experiences. That’s a scenario with more appeal to younger workers than the solitary cubicle that was their parents’ standard, especially for those that don’t need an office, just access to its amenities.

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Coming up in March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.