IFMA Distributed Work Research


Have you heard the phrase “distributed work” being tossed around in meetings in HR or Operations? This term refers to the concept of work activities that are spread out among individuals and teams working at different times and often in geographically disparate locations. You might think that this is so typical these days that there doesn’t need to be a phrase to talk about it. However, just because it’s the new norm doesn’t mean employers fully understand how to leverage this practice for greatest efficiency.

Digging In Deeper

IFMA has taken a closer look at the who, what, when, where, how and why of distributed work as it takes place in a variety of companies today. As you might expect, many of their case studies feature major corporations in IT and telecom industries (such as AT&T and HP). These business models lend themselves to a distributed workforce because of their focus on and access to the technology of mobile work. However, smaller businesses may actually have an edge in designing and implementing a successful distributed work model because they are more agile. When you have 50 employees rather than 5000, figuring out how to get the same work done while increasing the flexibility of schedules and the office space itself can be much simpler.

What Strategies Are Popular?

  • About 6 out of 10 facility managers surveyed said there are some unassigned workspaces in their office for touchdown space, meetings, and other mobile or team work.
  • More than 50% of respondents said at least a small percentage of their workers telecommute. A further 37% said virtual work is an available option (there may be overlap between telecommuting and e-commuting).
  • Communication remains key to successful implementation of any change to how and where work gets done. Face to face meetings seem to be the most popular option.

According to IFMA’s survey results,

Interested in learning more and finding detailed descriptions of how other businesses have made the switch? You can purchase the full report complete with case studies here. If you’d like to discuss how your office furniture needs to evolve as you change work styles, feel free to call us at 1-760-536-6374 for a no-charge space planning consultation.


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