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Remote workers vs. Office workers

In Response To:

Remote Workers Are Outperforming Office Workers–Here’s Why

“Research shows that office workers cannot concentrate at their desks.”

By Brian de Haaff Co-founder and CEO, Aha!

At Freedom Interiors, we are saying yes to what Brian de Haaff calls “gimmicks”. Unique is one word to describe our 7,000 sq. ft. showroom that is one-third office, one-third event space, and one-third schoolroom.

Carol Espinosa founded her company on five core values: Empowerment, Fun, Integrity, Adaptability, and Innovation. We are empowered to select where we want to work, at a range of different work stations. But it goes far beyond choosing where we sit each day, every one of us is a decision maker. We have fun: guilty of possessing not only a hammock, but an office dog, a pool table and beer on tap, (kombucha too).

Do these things deliver anything meaningful for the people who work here?

Yes! It means we can bring our dogs to work on the days we just don’t want to leave them at home. It means that we can have business associates come to us, saving us time and money while sharing a beer and conversation. Basically, it means we love where we work – which is a pretty big ask in America’s corporate work structure. 

We stay home when we’re sick and work from home – no rigid management demanding we come into the office. We’ve built a foundation of trust amongst ourselves and never feel the need to sneak out early to run errands. Our integrity and adaptability allow us to arrange our work schedule around our personal lives quite easily. That’s what good workspace design can do: encourage a culture that keeps up with the modern workforce.

Brian asked: why company founders are trying so hard with these in-office “perks”?

Perhaps it’s because of open office design’s ability to “foster collaboration, promote learning, and nurture a strong culture.” A conclusion from the very same article featuring the study Mr. de Haaff cites, “that the number of people who say they cannot concentrate at their desk has increased by 16 percent since 2008.”

It goes on to say, “Too much remote work creates its own set of problems, such as diminished knowledge transfer, decreased engagement, cultural disconnect, and a slew of new distractions. And, of course, it makes collaboration more difficult.”

In a “fun” office, you can’t get any work done

There is a need for both collaborative work spaces and quiet work stations that allow for privacy and solitude to focus intently at different times. If your office doesn’t have both, or if where you get your work done isn’t a choice, then you are just one of many caught in the teeth of the late 80s and early 90s corporate landscape. Private offices can accomplish the solitude, but don’t lend any assistance to collaboration, and if done incorrectly, can be damaging to employee morale.

But not every office should have an open floor plan.

As I have vehemently defended our open workspace environment, you may be surprised to see that I don’t think it’s right for everyone. However, that’s exactly how we approach every project. We only want to give our clients what works best for them. What works for us isn’t the right fit for every company out there. We’re happy with our design, but we enjoy designing what the client wants, what fits their needs and their employees. Remote workers may not have to shift from casual to business casual each day, but I still think the right workplace design can bring joy those that spend their time there.