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Should Hybrid Work Models Include Stipends for Coworking Spaces?

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In the midst of a workplace upheaval, where remote gigs are suddenly fashionable and traditional office setups are looking more like vintage relics, the human resources (HR) world is in the throes of an identity crisis. And guess what? It’s time for a makeover.

That’s where I come in—Dave Mirgon, with over 25 years under my belt as an HR Leader. Having recruited thousands into the remote culture, I’ve navigated the stormy seas of work-life balance conversations, crafting solutions that resonate with both employers and employees.

This journey has led me to create Brick House Blue, a coworking and meeting space that embodies the evolution of workplace dynamics. Coworking was already part of the post pandemic remote work life, but now we enter the era of coworking space stipends—a bold move that’s not just necessary; it’s overdue.

Buckle up as we dive into why HR needs to lead this charge with a mix of hard facts and an upfront approach to the future of work. This isn’t just about keeping pace with the Joneses; it’s about blasting past them at warp speed, redefining what it means to support a modern workforce in a digital age.

The call to arms is clear: HR must evolve or risk becoming irrelevant. As remote work continues to dismantle the traditional office hierarchy, HR’s role as the architect of workplace culture and employee satisfaction is more critical than ever.

It’s time to innovate, disrupt, and lead the charge into uncharted territory, with coworking space stipends as the flagship policy of this new frontier.

The New Work Order: Chaos, Connectivity, and Coworking

Remote and hybrid work models crashed the party, flipping the script on what we thought was a temporary gig into the main stage. According to the brainiacs at the Integrated Benefits Institute, this shift has thrown us into a mental health hazard, with remote warriors battling higher levels of anxiety and depression than their office-bound coworkers. And if that’s not a wake-up call for HR to get its act together, I don’t know what is.

A Kaggle survey threw in another curveball—70% of people believe remote work is a productivity booster, yet 60% are struggling to keep their focus game strong. It’s the ultimate paradox: freedom meets cabin fever. The explosion of digital connectivity tools has both bridged and broadened the gap between personal and professional lives, leading to an urgent need for physical spaces that can replicate the camaraderie and collaborative spirit of traditional offices.

This contrast of chaos and connectivity calls for a strategic intervention by HR, leveraging coworking spaces as connectors for community, creativity, and ultimately, company culture in a dispersed work environment.

HR in the Hot Seat: Time to Rewrite the Rulebook

HR’s traditional playbook is about as useful now as a pager in a smartphone world. With employee cries for mental health support and productivity hacks hitting record volumes, it’s crystal clear that HR departments need to morph into innovation incubators, pronto! Reports from Demand Sage paint a grim picture of remote work woes—hello, 24/7 workday and the loneliness epidemic. It’s a strong call for HR to step up and craft solutions that aren’t just Band-Aids but game-changers.

The mandate is clear: HR must transition from a support function to a strategic powerhouse, spearheading initiatives that not only address the immediate challenges of remote work but also lay the groundwork for a resilient, adaptive, and flourishing future workforce. This involves not just rethinking policies and benefits but reimagining the very fabric of work-life integration, with coworking spaces as a critical piece of this puzzle. By fostering environments that encourage social interaction, professional growth, and personal wellbeing, HR can turn the tide on the remote work revolution, making it a win-win for employees and employers alike.

A view of a coworking graph.

Problems reported by remote workers, www.demandsage.com

Coworking Spaces: The Oasis in the Remote Work Desert

Coworking spaces are more than just pretty places to park your laptop. They’re the antidote to the isolation and inactivity plaguing the remote workforce. Business.com drops some truth bombs with statistics showing these hubs as lifesavers for mental health, productivity, and even your wallet—with 51% of people reporting a pay bump post-coworking.

Related  Location, Location, Location: What to Look for When Selecting a New Market to Open a Coworking Space

It’s time for HR to stop playing it safe and start playing it smart by bankrolling coworking memberships. This isn’t just about adding another perk to the list; it’s about revolutionizing how we support our workforce.

Beyond being mere workspaces, these coworking havens are breeding grounds for innovation, networking, and professional development. They offer a dynamic backdrop against which employees can engage with diverse ideas and individuals, sparking creativity and driving business forward.

By integrating coworking space stipends into their benefits package, HR can not only enhance employee satisfaction and productivity but also attract top talent in an increasingly competitive landscape. This strategic move signals a company’s commitment to supporting flexible work arrangements and its understanding of the evolving needs of the modern worker.

Coworking Upgrades

Percentage who say aspects of their work have improved since joining a coworking space based on a study from Business.com.

Income 51%
Work skills 49%
Work quality 47%
Collaboration with colleagues 47%
Business connections 46%
Productivity/output 46%
Business ideas 46%
Creativity 45%
Number of clients 45%
Profits 45%
Mental health 45%
Self-confidence 44%
Social circle 44%
Work-life balance 43%
Physical health 42%
Ability to focus 41%

The Stipend Strategy: Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges

Sure, rolling out coworking stipends is no walk in the park. Budgets will groan, and logistics will be challenging. But the payoff? Monumental. Starting small with pilot programs and real talk feedback loops can help HR tailor these stipends into the silver bullet for remote work challenges. Key moves include clear rules of engagement for stipend use, cozying up to coworking spaces for deals, and keeping a keen eye on the prize—boosted productivity and happy, healthy employees.

The stipend strategy goes beyond mere financial support; it’s about building a culture of trust and autonomy, empowering employees to choose work environments that best suit their needs and work styles. This empowerment fosters a sense of ownership and engagement, key ingredients for job satisfaction and retention.

Moreover, by partnering with a variety of coworking spaces , companies can ensure their teams have access to a diverse array of environments, catering to different preferences and working styles. This level of personalization and flexibility is not just a nice-to-have but a must-have in the quest to support a balanced, fulfilling work life in the digital age.

Conclusion: The Future is Now, and HR is Driving

The shift to remote and hybrid work isn’t just a trend; it’s the new reality, loaded with hurdles and opportunities. HR is in the driver’s seat, charged with the mission to reinvent the wheel when it comes to employee support.

Coworking space stipends are not just another item on the HR agenda; they’re a bold statement—a commitment to the health, happiness, and success of every team member, wherever they log in from. By championing this cause, HR isn’t just adapting; it’s leading the charge towards a more flexible, inclusive, and vibrant work culture.

The road ahead is fraught with challenges, but also brimming with potential. As workplaces continue to evolve, the role of HR as a catalyst for change becomes ever more apparent. By embracing innovative solutions like coworking space stipends, HR can not only navigate the complexities of the remote work landscape but also shape it. This proactive approach to workforce management will define the future of work, ensuring companies remain resilient, competitive, and above all, places where people love to work.

The bottom line is clear: the future of work is unfolding now, and HR’s role in steering this transformation has never been more critical. It’s time to get edgy, embrace the chaos, and invest in our people. The question isn’t whether we’re ready for the future of work—the question is whether we’re bold enough to lead it.

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About Author

Dave Mirgon, a 25-year seasoned HR leader and serial entrepreneur behind Columbus, Ohio's premier coworking space, Brick House Blue, and several other ventures. With 25 years of experience, he's also founded Midwest Basketball, the country's largest AAU basketball program, Landid (an executive recruiting agency), Bleacher Republic (a sporting events company), and Contendr (an innovative platform for athletes like Linkedin). Each of his projects showcases his commitment to innovation and community empowerment. At the heart of his work, Brick House Blue cultivates creativity and collaboration, serving as a community cornerstone for professionals and businesses alike. Dave's diverse portfolio not only challenges traditional business models but also establishes him as a dynamic force in the entrepreneurial space.

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