7. Community-based Flexible Workplace Centers
Daily commutes are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Increasingly, technology permits more and more people to work anywhere, allowing people to work in their homes or nearer home, potentially reducing commutes and resultant gridlocked roads and CO2-equivalent emissions. The reality, however, is that many knowledge workers are struggling with the distractions and isolation of working at home or the sub-optimal environment of working in a coffee shop. Additionally, companies are dealing with 30 - 50% empty desks (since employees are elsewhere), are locked into inflexible, long leases (as business environments change more quickly than contracts), and have a changing, younger workforce that prizes flexibility and quality of life.
Satellite Telework Centers is developing a network of Community-based, Flexible Workplace Centers within a short walk, bike ride or drive of knowledge workers' homes. Knowledge workers need a professional, connected, ergonomic place to work, a place located in their chosen community, a place that increases the vibrancy of their community and allows them to be nearer to children during the working day. One government survey found that 42% of current telecommuters preferred a workplace center, rather than working at home. They prized the lack of distractions, the connection to other people, the small serendipities of finding the missing link to a project, the ability to focus on work at work and to focus on family at home. They also prized losing the 2 hours/day and significant cost -- both physical and financial -- spent in commuting!
But just having "place" doesn't answer all of the issues around remote work. People "work" all over the globe while they're physically in one place. They need 24/7 access to workspace. They need to know they're secure and have the equipment and broadband necessary. And in order to have the biggest impact on reducing commutes and emissions, centers need to be located near workers' homes, and therefore fairly small. Each space has to be able to be used many times a day by different people, and one can only afford to staff during the working day -- even with 24/7 access.
The Satellite has developed the patent-pending technology to do this. Members use a standard RFID card to scan in. If they have access to a space, they are permitted entry without staff intervention. Their scans are then tracked, compared to their plan type, and automatically processed through to billing. All of this is tied to cloud-based reservations, cameras and communication.
By answering the problems of creating small, local, 24/7 workspace centers, communities are strengthened, emissions are reduced and quality of life for individuals and communities is enhanced.
Why it should be recognized:
Nothing has a bigger impact on reducing emissions than reducing commutes. Indeed, an increase in telecommuting of just 1% of California's workforce cuts CO2 emissions by one million metric tons per year! But the solution of Community-based Flexible Workplace Centers has benefits beyond this. Many of our small town cores are dying and empty during the day. Each knowledge worker that remains in a small town during the day supports about 14 s.f. of retail and increases the vibrancy of the area. Parents are able to work closer to children -- of major significance during the high crime hours of 3 - 6 pm. Summary data demonstrates that companies experience on average 27% productivity gains, attrition reductions of 25%, and absenteeism savings of 3.7 days/year/teleworker. Indeed, the time workers save from reduced commutes tends to be spent about 60% in increased work and 40% personally, enhancing physical health and quality of life.
The benefits of Satellite Centers accrue to individuals, communities and companies. Recognition by SSV helps to demonstrate that benefits are more than individual: they are shared communally and environmentally as well.