Locations across Wales are being made available for remote working, giving people an alternative to working from home or working in a traditional office environment.
Welsh Government is encouraging an increase in remote working and has set a long-term ambition for 30% of the Welsh workforce to work away from a traditional office, to be achieved by giving people more options and choice on their workplace.
This ambition is intended to help town centres, reduce congestion and cut carbon emissions.
In Haverfordwest HaverHub’s new coworking space offers a space to work in the community, while TownSq’s latest hub Costigan’s in Rhyl town centre has undergone a refurbishment and will have desks for local people to work remotely – in partnership with Denbighshire County Council.
In the Swansea Valley area ‘Indycube’ are trialling turning underused office areas and community centres into community working spaces.
All three projects are inviting employees and businesses to come forward if they would like to try working locally to where they live and rent space in order to provide more choice for their employees. Where applicable the desks are free for the period of the 12 month pilots which will be open when COVID-19 restrictions allow.
In Pontypridd, Transport for Wales’ new headquarters in Pontypridd will trial closer public sector collaboration, working with the Welsh Government to provide a dedicated space for local public sector workers.
Additionally, six flexible working sites in the Valleys Taskforce area are being supported through £500,000 in Welsh Government funding. This includes giving people the opportunity to work close to local beauty spots and heritage sites, with spaces situated in the Discovery Gateway at Llyn Llech Owain in Carmarthenshire and another at Parc Bryn Bach in Blaenau Gwent.
More locations will be confirmed in the coming months and people are still being invited to suggest locations through an engagement exercise hosted by Commonplace.
Lee Waters, Deputy Economy and Transport Minister, said:
“One of the lessons we’ve learned from the pandemic is that many people don’t want or need to be in a traditional office environment.
“Remote working can help people escape the commute and develop a better work-life balance. For businesses there’s a real opportunity to maintain and increase productivity while making their staff happier.
“We’re not approaching this looking for a one-size-fits-all solution. The locations will help develop evidence across a range of different circumstances and will help inform our thinking as the policy develops.
“I encourage businesses to grasp this opportunity and be part of the future of the Welsh workplace.
Tom Wye, Director of Workspace at Haverhub, commented:
“HaverHub are delighted to be involved in the pilot, providing the opportunity for remote working from beautiful Pembrokeshire. The refurbished Post Office building will play a pivotal role in creating a centre for the business community in the county and this pilot allows us to extend that community to larger businesses across Wales.
Senior Community Manager for TownSq, Carl Turner, said:
“Many of us have been working from home for much of this past year. Whilst there are some real positives, like waking up later, booting the commute and spending more time with family, it can also be tough living and working in the same space 24/7.
“Spaces like Costigan’s are easy to access and provide all the support and facilities people need to get ahead, be it growing their own business, or just grabbing some headspace to get their work done.
Mike Scott – Indycube 2021 said:
"Indycube has supported freelancers and remote-workers for over a decade. Our local coworking spaces help remote-workers out of the isolation of home-working, offering them easy access to shared space, reducing the need for travel while allowing people the opportunity to work together. Our mission is to make it easier for people to start and maintain coworking locations where they live, and to help existing spaces like community centres offer new services to the growing numbers of home workers.
Lisa Yates, Director of People and Organisational Development at Transport for Wales, said:
“We’re looking forward to welcoming local public sector workers to use our new headquarters at Llys Cadwyn in Pontypridd.
“Remote hubs can reduce road traffic and congestion on public transport and encourages people to use active travel to get to their place of work.
“It will also improve people’s work-life balance and helps to support local businesses.