Jan 25, 2021
Years ago, we decided to work exclusively remotely and are still convinced. Over the years, however, we have encountered some problems with remote work that we have successfully solved from today's perspective.
During the Corona pandemic, we're able to observe how companies deal with the change to more remote work and the associated new way of working. In doing so, it often reminded us of our beginnings, which was an insanely exciting process.
One of the most prominent problems is that team cohesion suffers due to the lack of human contact and isolation at home. There is simply a lack of getting closer on a human and personal level, even if the team uses solutions such as regular meetings or virtual office spaces.
Coworking spaces instead of an own office
While working in an office leads to daily gatherings and exchanges with colleagues, even from different departments, this hardly ever happens in a home office. This effect intensifies when employees are spread across cities, countries or even continents.
Coworking spaces offer the opportunity to continue to meet like-minded colleagues from the region and even employees from other companies to learn from each other. Colleagues can meet and exchange ideas in virtual rooms across regions, but the human level and getting to know each other in person is still not a given.
Co-living - Living and working together
In addition to co-working spaces, co-living spaces have appeared more and more frequently in recent years, but the concept of "co-living" is still somewhat unknown.
Co-living means that you live together with your colleagues in a shared apartment and have a dedicated office in the same building. Even entire building complexes specialize in this and house several teams, which can then work and exchange ideas in a shared co-working space.
However, if you have multiple locations, there is still the problem that the personal bond between the employees of those is lost.
Introducing Swaps - Uniting Remote Teams
Swaps are co-living spaces that employees can seamlessly move ("swap") between, so employees no longer have to worry about finding a new place to live.
But what exactly is meant by this? Today, a company has several locations, which consist of office space. If a company recruits employees, they are tied to the region because they already rent or still have to find an apartment there. In the future, companies will provide buildings in different regions where employees live and work. These can be anything from an apartment complex to a villa on the beach, for example. In these buildings, there will be a dedicated office space and a living area for employees. This concept will allow employees to get to know their colleagues better, leading to greater team bonding.
Since the Swaps are available in different regions (e.g. New York and Los Angeles), employees can live and work in New York for 6 months and switch to Los Angeles after those. Through employee's constant exchange, they get to know each other better across locations and the team bond strengthened internationally.
If employees want to switch to another Swap, they can easily do so without much effort. The communication between them sustains via virtual office solutions.
Of course, variations are also possible, such as offering a dedicated office space or seats in co-working spaces in the different regions. In addition to these, employee apartments allow easy swapping between locations.
Swaps can also be organized across companies, like co-working spaces today, to strengthen the exchange between companies and learn from each other.
Swaps can be integrated into current company structures as an employee benefit or even used as a base for the complete company culture. That means that employees for whom Swaps do not fit into their current life situation can, of course, continue to spend time in their own home at a fixed location and thus, Swaps can also easily combined with an office or home office culture. For some variety, an employee at a fixed location can still choose to move to a Swap for some time.
How to organize it
Of course, if you want to make Swaps available to your employees, there are a few things to consider.
The employer has to take care of the living and working areas, turn them into a co-living space, and provide electricity, water, internet, etc. Furthermore, they should draw up a contract regulating how the rental costs offset against the salary.
The employee would need to obtain a visa (through the employer if necessary), as well as a train/plane ticket or arrange another way for the move.
The Corona pandemic has turned the world of work upside down and significantly accelerated the shift to a distributed work environment. More and more companies are becoming aware of the problems and are looking for solutions.
In 5 years, many companies will have already given some thought to how they can appeal to Generation Z and hire more talent internationally.
Swaps are a flexible and new way to strengthen internal communication as well as employer branding.