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The Coffice: Season 1, Episode 1 (ROWE)

Work-from-home employees have grown by 103% since 2005 and 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time. Coffices (coffee shop offices) are on the rise as more workplaces embrace flexibility. Read the reflections from one of XYZ U’s remote employees.

Coffice: A coffee shop one makes into an office where non-coffee shop work is performed. It’s in Urban Dictionary and it’s becoming the norm.

Walk into any coffee shop and you’re bound to see a plethora of cofficing in action. Just now, I looked up from my laptop and saw a musician composing her latest piece, eavesdropped on some enthusiastic entrepreneurs and let my glance linger a little too long at the woman furrowing her brow in deep concentration over the spreadsheets on her laptop.

At XYZ University, our team is made up of remote employees. As our team continues to grow, we are faced with new challenges, but workplace flexibility remains the cornerstone of our culture. The main reason it works? Trust. From the beginning, the owners of this company impart an enormous amount of trust in you. In a results oriented work environment (ROWE), traditional office hours aren’t necessary. When someone isn’t pulling their weight, it becomes apparent very quickly. What’s amazing to me, is that with high expectations, sincere confidence in the people you work with and regular communication, employees tend to feel unshackled from rigid workplace norms and take on a new level of ownership in their work.

My colleague and I were cofficing together the other day and joked about some of the realities of working remotely. As we jabbered on about an upcoming trade show and some important marketing campaigns, my one-year-old toddled back and forth between us and random strangers, soaking in all the baby talk and googly eyes from strangers. That day we set up shop at Daily Dose in Maple Grove, Minnesota, the go-to coffice space of our CEO. The nondescript exterior in a shopping complex is a simple facade for this local favorite. They know their customers by name and always have a fun message drawn in your caffeinated foam. While my cappuccino told me to “have a great day,” our coffice-embracing CEO was in Vienna delivering a presentation to the Associations World Congress. She addressed the dramatic shifts happening in our workplaces due to generational shifts and clashes.

One of those shifts is the migration away from the traditional 40-hour work week and more adoption of ROWE, co-working and other flexible work environments. In our CEO’s upcoming book, Talent Generation, she speaks in depth on this topic. In so many respects, the “traditional” way to work doesn’t work anymore. Now that Millennials are the majority of the workforce and Gen Z recently joined them in the professional realm, we’re witnessing major shifts in expectations for working.

One of these shifts is more workplace flexibility. Regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 103% since 2005 and 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time. This generation holds trust as one of the most important attributes of a good leader and ROWE is the perfect example of a workplace shift built on trust. Raised in an era of disruption, including 9-11, political scandals and real-time news via technological advances, Millennials are looking for employers that value them and allow them to deliver on expectations in their own way.


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