Open your hotel to remote workers and reap the benefits
The number of remote workers is increasing. The Office of National Statistics predicts that 50% of UK employees will be remotely working to some degree by 2020. London alone already has more than a million people who regularly work from cafes, restaurants and other public spaces. D&D London is catering to the coworking market when it opens five of their restaurants to remote workers in June.
As the number of remote workers increases so too does demand for quality remote workspaces. A Guestline survey states that 1 in 4 remote workers feel there aren’t enough hotels that cater to the remote working market.
So, how can your hospitality business benefit from this shift in how we work and encourage digital nomads into your premises?
What is remote working?
A remote worker is someone who works outside a traditional office environment or in a different location to their employer/client.
Remote workers include freelancers and the self-employed who may not have dedicated business premises other than their home. But also includes employed staff who can choose to “work from home” either full-time or part-time aka a remote employee.
Why is remote working increasing?
Being able to work remotely has been empowered by both technology and attitude. Laptops, mobile devices and wifi have given workers the freedom to move away from a desk and therefore also out of the office. Cloud technology allows access to central information from anywhere. Plus video calling and collaboration software such as Slack negates the need for face-to-face communication.
The types of roles have also changed with an increase in tech- or service-orientated jobs. Plus there’s been a cultural shift in our understanding the importance of a good work/life balance that has helped facilitate the shift towards remote working.
What remote workspaces do remote workers choose to work from?
Remote workers are resourceful and creative in where they choose to work:
- Work from home: not everyone has a study or home office so this can often be on the sofa, at the kitchen table or even in bed.
- Use a coworking office: remote workers can hire deskspace in a shared office that includes shared office equipment plus other people to chat or network with.
- Coffee shops and libraries: many public spaces offer free wifi to their patrons. Coffee shops also offer refreshments whereas libraries offer peace and quiet.
- Your hotel lobby or restaurant: hospitality businesses are beginning to tap into the remote worker market. Read on to find out more.
What are the benefits of remote working?
The benefits to the worker and their employee are significant:
- Workers have a better work/life balance
- Environment benefits from less commuting and travel
- Remote working means happier and less stressed employees
- Remote workers are outperforming office workers with increases in productivity
- Cost savings for the employer in operating overheads including needing smaller offices.
Is coworking and remote working the same thing?
Not always. A coworking space, where individuals can rent a desk or office space to suit their needs, could be viewed as a regular or traditional place of work – it’s still an office after all. Freelancers and self-employed people are more likely to use a coworking space than a remote employee.
The shared amenities and opportunities to meet and chat with other workers are much like a typical office with similar distractions of the open plan office. However, not all coworking spaces are equal. The rise of the remote worker has also led to the rise in the choice of coworker spaces.
Benefits of opening your hotel to remote workers
Many hotels and restaurants struggle to fill their premises during the day. Tapping into the remote worker market can help boost many aspects of your hospitality business:
- Increase footfall during quieter times of the day
- Existing guests will benefit from the workspaces too
- Encourages contractors and business travellers to your hotel
- Brings new people into your business who may not have otherwise visited
- Promotes the use of your function rooms for business purposes
- Creates a vibrant ambience: your establishment is a popular venue!
- More sales of beverages, snacks and lunches. How about a remote worker “lunchtime special”?
- Benefit from word of mouth recommendations.
How to encourage remote workers into your business
Wifi and Connectivity
The biggest factor that will attract remote workers into your lobby is the quality of the internet connection. It needs to be fast, reliable and secure. Show that you welcome remote workers by displaying the information about your free wifi and how to connect to it.
Ambient noise levels
Most remote workers will opt for a quieter workspace (but there are those who thrive in busier environments). So, ambient and background noise is acceptable whereas loud voices are less desirable. Consider how close the coworking space is to the kitchen, front desk, toilets or other areas that are noisier and busier.
Your hotel lobby or lounge is probably already a comfortable space. Think about keeping seating in smaller groups and add side or coffee tables. Natural light is best but bear in mind that harsh lighting can increase screen glare.
Feeling you have your own space within which to work is true for remote workers as much as it for those confined to a traditional office desk. A sense of workspace privacy is vital:
- Use plants as room dividers and screens to create privacy.
- Experiment with different seating and table heights to define zones and options for the remote worker.
- Create smaller working spaces and a larger meeting room area with your furniture layouts.
- Keep furniture lower level if you’re tight on space to create a better feeling of space.
Are you able to offer device charging facilities or provide access to a printer? Some devices are power hungry so access to sockets is likely to be a dealbreaker for most remote workers. Consider offering free tea, coffee and water as well.
Free vs Paid Coworking space
If you’re are considering a paid coworking space you’ll need to ensure you can consistently offer all of the above. So the decision to offer a rentable space will depend on how much space you can dedicate to coworking. Plus both your location and existing infrastructure. If you’re not in an area of higher-demand – such as a city or large town – then you might not attract enough remote workers to make it viable.
The benefits listed above still apply to a free remote workspace. If encouraging remote workers into your premises helps your business feel vibrant and sells a few more covers and coffees each day, then what do you have to lose?
Floresy is a supplier of artificial plants and trees to hotels, restaurants and commercial businesses in London and across the UK.