The coffee shop gets a lot of press for being the “go to” location for off-site work. But there’s another community gathering place that might actually serve as a better model: the local library. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. There’s a lounge area for socializing and a private corner for work that requires more focus. Of course, the ways in which an ideal workplace should resemble a library go beyond these basics. For example, a well equipped library has the equivalent of:
- A hot desking area where workers who don’t need a permanently assigned workstation can sit on a first come, first serve or reservation basis
- Worksurfaces divided with desktop panels for added privacy, peace and quiet
- A culture that strongly encourages keeping your voice down and minimizing distractions to others
- Private meeting rooms of various sizes featuring technology for specific purposes
- Especially quiet areas for individuals taking any kind of pre-employment test
- Outdoor seating for open air work when the weather permits
- An area where kids are welcome to sit and play
- Friendly mentors available to help you with anything you need and to teach you how to use the equipment properly (including ergonomic office furniture)
- Extra computers mounted on standing height desks to serve mobile employees who just need quick access for a minute or two
- Plenty of natural light through windows and skylights
- A ban on having private cell phone conversations where others can overhear!
It’s easy to see how a library would make a decent model for a workplace where people actually get things done. That’s not to dismiss the coffee shop idea completely. A café would be a great atmosphere for a break room, training and orientation area, or even a conference room where people could chat and snack before getting back to work.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Fryar’s Balsam