June 16, 2020

What We Really Need From a Workspace

When you think of a really great space to work in, what do you think of? Do you think of rows of standing desks, with connected monitors, ergonomic laptop stands, and little succulents in cute clay planters reminding you to drink water every once in a while? Some comfy couches, hybrid foosball/ping-pong tables, beer kegs, food stands, in-house chefs, sleeping pods, anything at all to relax you and get you back in your chair after a quick break. What about a great view of a bustling city to inspire you? With lights twinkling and flashing, flags waving silently atop buildings, people and cars milling about on the streets below not unlike an ant farm or a flowing river of progress to make you feel like you’re part of something grand - something impossibly possible because, yes, you are here, above it all. You’ve made it. Maybe you just think of home, a nice sturdy desk, a little bit of herbal tea, and a cat to squeeze.

man-in-black-shirt-sitting-in-front-of-computer-3861959 This guy either loves having dual monitors or hates that he can see between the screens his coworker flossing his teeth.

But what do we really need from a workspace? Once the external objects fade into normalcy. Once you decide you don’t quite like standing at your desk, losing at ping-pong has become old, you no longer look out the window at the people thirty floors below, and the cat has gone off to sleep. It’s just you and your work. What does the workspace really do for you?

brown-tabby-cat-lying-on-shag-rug-720684 This cat isn't working. It's sleeping... I spent too much time looking for free stock photos of cats.

To put it simply, where you work needs to be the best place for you to do your best work. After all the bells and whistles are gone, can you sit down and feel satisfied with the work you are putting out there? Can you collaborate with your team when you need to? Can you work without any distractions? Where you work needs to get you into flow.

Remote work has a lot of benefits compared to working in an office. You set your own hours. You can sit on your couch and feel comfortable. You don’t have to drive to work which means you can sleep in a bit more and feel more rested. Productivity has been shown to increase at home, contrary to the micro-managers out there. Employers don’t have to pay for an expensive office and you don’t have to pay for the gas to get there. That’s pretty nice.

But collaborating can sometimes be tough, which is where the in-person office shines. If you have a question, you can generally just ask. You can have in-person meetings without the seemingly obligatory action of talking while on mute. (Oh, how fatiguing it is to tell someone that during every conference call!) People are there for you and you are for them. The instantaneousness of it is appealing. Internet, lighting, desks, meeting tables - they’re all there for the employees to use and they didn’t have to set it up.

But people in an office are confined to their office; they had to drive there; it’s harder to get into a flow because people are people and people talk. Distractions happen whether you want them or not. If you don’t have your own office, it can be hard to escape.

To work from home or to work from the office? - the eternal dilemma...

Or you could just be a part of the 4M community and have the best of both worlds, while saving a lot more money :)