If you build a public work space specifically to meet the needs of mobile workers—workers who use a PC at least 15 percent of the time and have the freedom to work from home, the office or some ‘third place,’ will they come?
According to new research from Internet Home Alliance, a network of leading companies doing collaborative research to advance the connected home space, the answer is yes. In addition, the research found that a mobile work environment was a viable business proposition, increasing the revenues of retailers in the area, prompting the pilot participants to keep the Plano, Texas, test site up and running indefinitely.
In April of last year, a group of Alliance members—Cisco Systems, Cushcraft, Herman Miller, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Panasonic and Taubman Centers—came together to test in the real world what past Alliance research had found to be the “ideal” mobile work environment: a broadband connection; a highly secure Wi-Fi network; business services such as copying, printing and scanning; business and news programming broadcast on plasma screens; ergonomic furniture designed specifically for a mobile work style; collaborative work areas; and food and hospitality services.
The Alliance set up this ideal environment in a 2,400 square foot space in The Shops at Willow Bend, an upscale shopping center located in Plano, Texas, a Dallas suburb home to several Fortune 500 companies. Dubbed “Connection Court,” use of the space was open to the public from April through October 2004 and free of charge.