Like many companies, Skillshare, an online learning platform that serves millions of members, went remote first after the onset of the pandemic. However, leadership soon found that while some employees preferred working from home, others missed heading into the office. They wanted a solution that would work for everyone, taking into account employees’ different needs and working styles.

“Equity and workplace experience have to do with creating an environment that’s productive for that person, for that individual. It’s an individualized approach, rather than a blanket, one size fits all,” says Elise Felker, Senior People Operations Manager at Skillshare.

Industrious’ Enterprise Access Memberships allowed Skillshare to transition to a distributed workplace that prioritized the needs of its employees, many of whom are spread out across the country. Each employee has the ability to come into an Industrious location near them or work from home on any given day, enabling Skillshare to provide employee choice first while simultaneously cutting costs and strengthening its company culture.

The Challenges

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 65% of Skillshare’s team worked out of company headquarters in New York; today, there’s no longer a central hub for employees and many folks have moved to different regions due to the pandemic. This approach provided flexibility for many team members, but collaboration became a challenge when some colleagues were able to gather in-person while others could only join in online.

Skillshare’s team went fully remote when the pandemic began. Since then, its geographic distribution has shifted; today, less than half of the team is based out of New York City. While some team members expressed a preference for working from home, others missed going into the office.

“We have people who love working from home for their lifestyle. We also have people on the other end of the spectrum who say, ‘Please, I need to be able to get out of my home, but still not have to go into an HQ,’” Felker says.

The Solution

Skillshare wanted a long-term solution — one which would create an equitable workplace for each and every team member by seeing to her or his individual needs. The answer was Industrious’ Enterprise Access Memberships, which allows employees to book workspace on-demand across Industrious’ network of more than 100 locations. Skillshare receives monthly usage reports from Industrious, which note the utilization by employee and location throughout the month, and identify trends and recommend solutions for different functional needs or potential savings.

“Industrious has helped us open up an opportunity for folks who want a change of scenery while also still having the flexibility of working from anywhere,” Felker says. “We communicate and collaborate in the same way. And there’s no [feeling of], ‘Well, people are together here collaborating, but I’m over here on an island.’ We really all are on an equal playing field in how we get our work done.”

Being able to access workplaces across the country not only ensures that each of Skillshare’s team members have the option to work from home or an office on any given day, but also that they all have access to the same kinds of equipment and types of spaces. In addition, the company has a policy in place that all collaboration must happen through virtual platforms.

Safety was also a critical concern. “We felt comfortable knowing that Industrious was leading the charge in what safety measures should be taken in a coworking space,” Felker says. That “offered peace of mind to our team that, despite COVID-19 and the pandemic not being over, we were able to create a space that was safe for them.”

The Benefits

Switching from a corporate headquarters to a remote model supported by Industrious’ Enterprise Access Memberships enabled Skillshare to significantly reduce costs. The company has been able to use those savings to provide new benefits for employees during a time when there’s great competition over talent.

“Now we’re able to distribute [that money] in other ways that ultimately drive the employee experience and culture in a better direction thanks to the cost savings that we have with Industrious,” says Felker. “When we went fully remote, we wanted to make sure that we were putting money back in our employees’ pockets. So we gave work from home reimbursements and amped up the reimbursement allotments that we were giving people for learning and development.”

The main benefit, however, has been the impact on morale. Empowering employees to choose where they work has been “tremendous for mental health,” Felker says. And it’s not just because people have the option to get outside of the house. “People are always pleasantly surprised whenever they go to an Industrious location for the first time and they’re able to feel really comfortable and inspired by the environment.” Some become power users, working out of a single location most days, while others come in occasionally, floating between different locations.

Employees who were hired after the pandemic started have been able to meet for the first time at Industrious locations around the country. Those experiences have helped build stronger ties and teams. “Getting to meet people and get outside of their homes has been a weight lifted off of so many people’s shoulders,” says Felker. “Seeing people as real humans for who they are beyond their job description is so important to culture.”