Market musings

Out of the Office, On the Job: Coworking and the Search for Flow

by Sasha Viasasha
December 21, 2017

How productive have you been today? What kind of environment do you need to do your best work?

In the future of work, every worker will seek out the optimal environment for their own state of “flow” -- where workers can be “completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."

For some people, the traditional office environment was ideal. For them, sitting in plastic chair in a cubicle staring at a flickering screen for hours at a time was the right place for flow. There simply aren’t a lot of people who can perform at their best under those conditions. Business in the 21st century has been all about new and innovative working conditions that spark and kindle flow.

In companies where employees find flow, businesses find cash flow. Forrester analysts  wrote:

“A growing body of scientific research is proving that supporting employees' ability to reach a mental state called flow is much more important to boosting customer satisfaction, talent retention, and revenue growth.”

Free flow

In the final year of the 20th century, Bernard De Koven described a kind of permanent, self-organizing incubator experience where young companies could share the costs of real estate leases and learn from each other as equals. He called the concept “coworking.”

Today, there are close to 14,000 coworking locations and more than a million people work there. 64% percent of them say they are more productive there, 71% felt a burst of creativity and 90% reported an increase in self-confidence. SmallBizLabs projects there will be more than 26,000 coworking spaces in 2020, helping 3.8 million members find their flow. 

If you tried to describe a place designed for flow, it would be a coworking space. Rooms of all sizes, from VoIP phone booths to podcast recording pods to massive conference rooms with interactive flatscreens. Massage chairs, napping chambers, fitness centers, nearby daycare and kitchens with bottomless coffee mugs. Some even sport the proverbial air hockey tables commonly found at edgy developer studios.

That’s the secret of coworking spaces. They aren’t thriving because the prices are lower than rent, the community adds value or the absence of a long-term commitment. Those are all important but the flexibility in creating flow experiences is its true superpower. As executive coach Monique Valcour explained, “Assuming that others’ preferred productivity strategies should work for you can yield frustration and a sense of defeat.”

Productivity is personal, yet one piece of the puzzle is still missing. 

Tech support

The problem with all this diversification and experimentation is that tech adoption hasn’t caught up with the 21st century work patterns.

A study of workplace trends by Technalysis Research reported that 75% of all communications with co-workers still take place on traditional phone systems or email, despite a proliferation of virtual PBX apps, messengers, chatbots, collaboration hubs, etc. Even for workers under 45, the number is a remarkably high 71%.

The number one most used device is the company-owned desktop PC, used 48% of the time. Smartphones are used just 7.5% of the time as an aggregate average across industries.

These 20th century technologies are under siege because they are getting in the way of flow. As the report concluded, “The tools and technologies are already available to deliver on a highly optimized, highly productive workplace of the future, but, as the survey results show, there’s still a long way to go before that vision becomes reality.”

A key to the future of work

Spoke Phone can unlock greater productivity and flow in the future of work with a next-generation global phone network inside your smartphone.

Spoke contains all of the essential business features of a virtual PBX, like easy transfers, call logs, find me/follow me and an employee directory that stays updated automatically. 

Once you find who you’re looking for, you’ll have access to unlimited free calling between team members, anywhere in the world.

Our multi-lingual AI will pick up the call when you can’t and keep track of who needs to be called back. You’ll also get innovative capabilities like voicemail transcription, HD Voice, automatic geo-routing of calls and local numbers in 50 countries.  

In 3 minutes, you can download and setup a virtual PBX with all the essential communication capabilities that a mobile salesforce needs. 

Here's a video showing you how it works:

In 3 minutes, you could be up and running. No IT maintenance, no additional hardware, no unused desk phones. Spoke turns your existing employee phones into a global network of devices that your sales reps already know and love. 

Your teams will spend more time talking to customers and less time wrestling with unproductive technology. See for yourself what an empowered mobile sales team can do by setting up your own personal demo of Spoke Phone.

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