In 2009, IBM had as many as 40% of IBM employees working from home. But not any longer.
According to arecent Washington Post article, IBM has been aggressively “co-locating” (or bringing back to the office) thousands of work-from-home employees over the last several years. Employees from the design, security, procurement, and technology departments have been pulled from their kitchen tables, back to the office. Now, according to IBM, they will be doing the same for another 2,600 marketing employees.
Employees are being asked to commute and/or move to one of six IBM locations around the country. Those that don’t want to comply will be shown the door (with severance).
“Why would IBM do such a thing?” we bemoan. “People aren’t the same! Some do their ‘best work’ at 2am in their underwear!”
IBM says this is flat-out baloney and they have science to back it up.
IBM has done extensive research into what is called the “water cooler effect,” which according to the article,“indicates that employees who work in the same location communicate, collaborate, innovate better and perform better than if they were all working from their homes.”
One IBM employee who was made to come back to the office fessed up stating,“I think getting everyone in a room, hashing it out, throwing it up on a whiteboard is my preference rather than doing share screens. People pay attention so much less when on the phone.”
Other than science, IBM’s reason for telling people to get dressed and come to the office has to do with their need to innovate.
IBM understands that if they want to compete in an ever-competitive market, they have to have their employees working together rather than apart. And the trend is not unique to IBM.
Facebook, Yahoo, Reddit, Best Buy, and Google are all eliminating their work-from-home employees and bringing everyone back to a centralized office.
While these companies have decided to bring their remote-staff back into the fold, there are other options, namely, coworking that could offer an alternative solution to this “coming-home” trend.
Coworking offers many of the same advantages as working from the home-office, and companies like IBM are taking note.
Here in Charlotte, many companies are strategically placing employees in coworking spaces in Charlotte because of the collaboration, communication, and synergy that shared office spaces in Charlotte create.
Here at The Launch Factory, we’d argue that coworking spaces provide some advantages that aren’t available to the traditional office space (giant conglomerates like the ones mentioned here aside).
For example, coworking spaces in Charlotte offer a variety of different work environments, from basic office set-ups to unique and high-tech spaces typically only found at ultra-hip software start-ups.
The water-cooler effect is also something you can achieve from joining a coworking space. It even goes one step further however, by offering collaboration opportunities with people who aren’t directly attached to your company.
You can gain unique perspectives to projects you’re working on and even find other companies to partner with that might have a solution you’ve been trying to find.
The possibilities are wide-open at shared offices spaces and while you might not have a choice when it comes to moving back to your home-office, the fact of the matter is companies like IBM and the like should consider coworking spaces as an interesting and practical alternative.
At The Launch Factory we provide a unique, technology-optimized, coworking space in Charlotte, NC that’s ready for business professionals and teams of all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions about our space or would like to schedule a private tour, please contact us here.