A co-located company is a business that operates from a centralized workplace, as opposed to a remote or distributed company that operates from multiple locations. Most traditional companies are co-located.
A co-located company is not to be confused with a co-location facility or data center facility; space businesses can rent to store servers and other computing hardware.
The term co-located grew in popularity with the emergence of flexible and remote work. The term distinguishes companies functioning in the traditional sense from one centralized location and companies that have adopted remote working and whose teams operate from multiple dispersed locations.
What is co-location?
Co-location means that a workforce performs co-located work on-site from a single office space or workspace. The opposite of co-location is remote or dispersed.
What is a co-located team?
A co-located team works with all (or at least most) team members from one workspace in person, unlike distributed teams and remote workers that predominantly function off-site.
Some co-located teams have satellite workers or multi-site teams that operate from alternate workspaces. However, the majority of co-located teams are based at a co-located site.
Co-located company vs. remote and distributed companies
Flexibility and coverage: Single-site teams are restricted by their physical location, whereas remote-first teams and distributed teams have people across multiple sites and geographies. This coverage means remote and distributed teams can function across time zones and have greater access to talent pools and markets worldwide. The latter option is popular with startups with limited budgets and the desire to hire a team that isn’t limited by geography.
Communication and collaboration: Co-located companies often communicate and collaborate face-to-face as opposed to remote teams and distributed teams that use technology and internet connection for synchronous (e.g. video conferencing) and asynchronous communication and collaboration (e.g. instant messaging).