As part of its Future of Work pilot program, the University of Iowa has opened a coworking space for its remote and hybrid employees.

Opened last month, the new co-working space called CoWork Commons in the University Capitol Centre will provide an alternative work space for University of Iowa employees who are working remotely and others who need occasional desk and meeting space and access to office equipment they may not have at home.

According to the school, the coworking space features various work-station configurations including single desks, small and large tables, meeting rooms, areas for group collaboration, and more. Depending on what type of workspace they’d like to use, employees will need to reserve via an online reservation system, while other space will be open for drop-in work. Available equipment will include monitors, whiteboards, printers, telephone access, and high-speed internet.

“This area is designed primarily for meeting and collaborating and can support a workshop or a meeting from two people up to 18 in the larger meeting room,” says campus planner Joe Bilotta. “It  will also have individual resources that many people working remotely might not have access to, such as printing on 11×17 paper, for example. Or maybe their internet went down and they need to come to campus.”

Bilotta said the location for CoWork Commons was chosen due to its proximity to the main campus, ample parking, food options, and easy access to the outdoors.

“We are going to be learning from this space,” says Bilotta. “By the end of the second Future of Work pilot period in June 2022, we hope to have a good idea of whether there is a need for more of these spaces on campus.”

Users of the new space will be able to suggest changes and provide input for future improvements throughout the Future of Work pilot.

The university claims that “alternative work arrangements will allow the university to compete with other employers for top talent, especially in fields where remote or hybrid work already is the norm.” Additionally, the school said that “remote and hybrid work arrangements can help retain employees and allow some to remain in their Iowa hometowns rather than moving for work, benefiting the state as a whole.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs