Remote Office Centres: Your Office but Somewhere Else

I was at a Bathcamp (interesting people, meeting regularly in Bath, UK) meet last week and saw Ryan Carson from Carsonified give an interesting talk on Ubiquity for Firefox (will blog more about it when I’ve had a go). Anyway at the end of his talk Ryan announced that they have a number of desks available in their office for anyone who wants to work in town.

It reminded me that the idea of ‘remote office centres’ is something I’ve been meaning to blog about.

Remote Office Centres (also referred to as co-working sites, telecentres, teleworking Centres or telework centres- and of course the US use ‘center’) are defined by Wikipedia as: space leasing centers which lease individual offices to employees from multiple companies in a single office location or centre. The purpose of Remote Office Centres is to provide professional office space in locations that are near where people live, so they can cut down on the commute, but still work out of a real office with professional grade internet, phone service and security.

They can offer a number of advantages over working at home such as demarcating home and work, removing possible home distractions and allowing the centralisation of professional office equipment. Of course it also means you get some co-workers again – be this a bad or a good thing…

At the moment these seem to be springing up mainly in the US where there are even a number of search facilities allowing you to locate your nearest office.

In the Washington DC Metropolitan area the General Services Administration (GSA) currently sponsors 14 Remote Office Centres. There is also an interesting article in the Chicago Herald on how these type of sites can help alleviate the loniless remote workers can sometimes feel.

Here in the UK the best list is available from the telework Association Web site.

Using these centres won’t work for everyone but I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them in the future.

Anyone out there have any experience of using them?