Blonde Lady With Phone And Laptop In Cafe

Working near to home is so 2022

A new workplace trend is here. Where do you do your best work?

Written by Professor Gary Martin FAIM
3 minute read
Blonde Lady With Phone And Laptop In Cafe

If you’ve enjoyed a break from your regular commute and are back in the office this week, like others you’ll be questioning whether you are truly headed for the location where you do your best work.

The pandemic has given us a fresh appreciation that the office is not the only place where we can get things done – and well. 

Too often, though, opportunities to work remotely have been presented as simply swapping a cubicle for the couch at home.

As the 2022 working year kicks off, hundreds of new remote working locations are emerging that will push people to rethink where they do their best work.

During lockdowns, millions of Australians experienced working from home (WFH). 

While working from home remains an attractive proposition for some, others find WFH challenging and have come to the realisation that sometimes the best place to work remotely is not necessarily at home but near to home.

They have rapidly become aware of a range of other work near to home, or WNH, workspaces, where everyday workers can gather to do their best work.

Progressive employers, too, are increasingly adopting an open mind as to what a suitable and appropriate alternate WNH location may look like. 

Appropriate WNH locations

They concede that productivity will always hinge on providing a stimulating and safe work environment that allows individuals to do their best work – and one that responds to individual preferences, working styles and needs at the same time as delivering a saving on the commute time.

Most of us know exactly where we are capable of doing our best work, but rarely do we act on that knowledge.

It may be that you do your best work in a local clamorous coffee shop or in the bustling lobby of a hotel close to home. 

Maybe it is a quiet library, museum or gallery, or an outdoor location like the local park, on site in the gardens of a nearby winery or even at the zoo.

Perhaps it is a suburban co-working space, a hotel room with an inspiring view, somewhere tucked away on a university campus or onsite at a professional club or association’s headquarters.

Choosing the perfect remote work location may come down to key considerations such as the travel time, type of work to be undertaken on any given day, any need to meet up with others and the equipment and resources available on-site.  

Other considerations may include availability of refreshments like barista-made coffee, child friendliness, proximity of parking or access to public transport, privacy requirements, access to free WiFi and temporary storage facilities.

From serene and quiet to busy and vibrant and indoors or outdoors – and everywhere in between – remote working venues that provide opportunities to WNFH are popping up all over the place.

Workplace safety

However, hunting down an ideal WNFH location is easier said than done – and often not done well.

For all the right reasons, bosses will vet specific WNFH locations, including to assess the level of workplace safety.

Several companies are now stepping in to establish Airbnb-styled platforms to showcase the enormous range of vetted WNFH possibilities available free of charge or on a pay-as-you-use basis.

One company Dorpee, for example, says its online platform allows employees “to work where they want, when they want and how they want so they can look forward to and love every day at work”.

The company says it connects workers looking for flexible WNFH locations with venues that are looking to fill their underutilised space, at the same time providing confidence to employers that all important safety requirements are complied with.

Communal tables, benchtops and window benches are all on offer in a variety of WNFH locations, with some available on an hourly basis, others daily and still others on a longer-term basis. 

As many of us vacate our traditional offices and flee from unsatisfactory WFH home arrangements, the demand for alternative WNFH arrangements is set to soar. 

The fact is we are finally recognising that it is feasible to work from just about any remote location we want – and it is often more effective than sitting in the office with your colleagues or around the kitchen table with the kids.

So as your 2022 working year kicks off, ask yourself: where will you do your best work?