The remote workforce is expected to account for nearly three-quarters of the U.S. workforce by 2020, and your business could benefit from having a more flexible remote work policy and placing employees in co-working spaces.

New research from cloud services firm West Unified Communications Services finds that more than 90 percent of all generations--including Millennials, Gen X-ers, and Baby Boomers--are taking advantage of their companies' remote work policies. Of note, Millennials (or those between the ages of 18 and 34) are more likely to use all of their available remote work time, and they're increasingly using it up at co-working spaces. The study surveyed 300 full-time U.S. workers.

The study, called "Who Controls the Remote?," suggests Millennials value the sense of community and camaraderie afforded by the likes of office rental startup WeWork, say, or the artier Neuehouse.

These companies, meanwhile, are expanding at a rapid clip. Earlier this year, WeWork raised $1 billion to fund its expansion to international markets such as China and India. The business, which is valued at an impressive $16 billion, boasts 126 locations and more than 70,000 global members.

"At WeWork, we are committed to creating a world where people can do what they love, where people can create their life's work--not just a living," Adam Neumann, WeWork's co-founder and CEO, said at an event in New York City last month.

Addressing concerns for remote employees.

Despite the fact that Millennials and their ilk are increasingly working remotely, many still cite concerns over being able to communicate with their employers, or missing out on career advancement opportunities. West offers three concrete suggestions for continuing to support staffers who work remotely, be it at a co-working space, a coffee shop, or from the comfort of their home:

Prioritize office culture.

Nearly half of remote employees still come into the office fairly regularly, the research finds, so it's important to preserve a sense of culture at all times. Consider taking a cue from co-working spaces, which offer perks like coffee or craft beer on tap.

Communicate visually.

Remote employees communicate most frequently over email, but many still worry over things like tone, or the timing of messages. Consider offering video conferencing tools, so remote workers can have more direct conversations with supervisors.

Communicate across multiple platforms.

Some employees voice concern that a lack of face time would cut them off from career advancement opportunities. To alleviate those concerns, communicate across multiple channels (email, collaborative tools such as Slack or Facebook at Work, as well as video conferencing) so employees can still get regular feedback on their progress.

Published on: Oct 26, 2016