In 1994 AT&T decided to bring the work to the worker, not the worker to the work. They created an alternative workplace (AW). Around 32,000 of their employees worked at home. AT&T was trying to see how far a company of their size and stature could go. AT&T was not the only place to try this. Some 30 million to 40 million employees in the United States work at home or are telecommuters.
There are many reasons why companies change to an AW. First it reduces cost by a lot. AT&T for example has freed up some $550 million, which is a 30% improvement, by freeing up office space, and by reducing overhead costs. Another reason is that it causes a great potential for productivity. Employees that work in the AW tend to concentrate on the customers needs instead of their usual office routine. It is proven that productivity goes up by using an AW. AW programs by establishing home offices are helping to create and receive more government incentives and avoid having to pay expensive government sanctions.
There is a vast assortment of AW being used in the workplace. One is the shared desk arrangement where many people share a desk. This arrangement creates more space. Another option would be changing from a traditional office space into a openplan space. In this design team rooms and other workstations are put in the open areas. Hoteling is a designed workplace that is furnished, equipped, and set up with all the office needs. These places are reserved by the hour, or by day, or by week, instead of one having the workplace for all of the time. Satellite offices are another innovative form of alternative workplace. These offices are broken up from large centralized places to smaller work zones that is located close to the customers of the employees.
These alternative workplaces are a great opportunity for a company and its employees. Giving employees these kind of working opportunities helps them produce and concentrate. The work place is changing everyday. The alternative workplace is just one of many changes.