The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted human life in several ways and one of the crucial areas is the way we work. Although both remote work and coworking were on the rise before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for coworking spaces has gone down at the moment. The lockdowns put in place to slow down the spread of the virus forced a significant percentage of people from coworking spaces to work from their homes.
By HEIDI ROSENBERG
Moreover, even as the world opens up, people are still sceptical about going out of their homes and using public transport while the virus continues to wreak havoc to the world. Nevertheless, work dynamics during the pandemic are playing in their favour, albeit at a slow rate. Clearly, coworking spaces have a lot to do in convincing their clients about their safety while working there. The struggle may not last long; odds are that these shared spaces will bounce back stronger post-pandemic.
Solutions for coworking spaces
The popular coworking model that was being used before the pandemic has taken a knock. However, it still holds an appeal for different companies big and small. We are going to see a new and improved version of coworking spaces. The management of these spaces will have to step up and address the workers’ concerns that cropped up during the pandemic. They will have to satisfy anyone looking to use their services of good sanitation and hygiene measures as well as ample spacing. Coworking spaces need to revamp their workspaces using technology such as smart lighting, hands-free check-ins and automatic doors for their clients to feel comfortable. They also need to adopt virtual interactions to keep the spirit of networking alive.
To this end, coworking is likely to be a perfect solution for businesses that require flexible layouts and several locations. Businesses are being forced to rework and restructure their finances. Most might end up disbanding their traditional offices, but they will still need a space to connect with each other. For the companies located in Washington DC, a coworking space Washington DC is likely to be the regional hub where employees from that area can converge for in-person connections. In addition, after working from home for so long, remote workers will have a need for shared workspaces as an alternative to working in isolation.
Benefits of using coworking spaces after the COVID-19 pandemic
Some of the reasons why the coworking spaces are doing well despite the setback by the advent of the COVID19 pandemic are,
1. More remote work
Remote working had been on the rise even before the pandemic hit the world. Benefits such as having the freedom to be on top of one’s schedule and a chance to improve the work-life balance lured many individuals to this way of working. Due to the rise in the need for social distancing during the pandemic, most businesses had to send a chunk of their workforce home, which saw a further rise in remote working.
Additionally, many businesses have realized that there are several benefits involved in using remote working. They are increasingly incorporating remote workers into their business strategies as a way to save on employment costs. Technology has also contributed greatly to the rise of remote working as the invention of reliable collaboration and communication tools continue supporting virtual connections. Nowadays, you can even register your company in a foreign country without having to fly there. For example, Air Corporate offers you the opportunity to register your business legally in Hong Kong from their online platform.
The rise in remote working is fuelling the growth of coworking spaces, as remote workers increasingly prefer working from there. This is primarily because coworking is effective in overcoming the isolation involved in working from home. Coworking spaces are also ideal for remote workers to keep working while maintaining social distancing. This is because it mitigates the risk of going to the commercial and office premises where it is difficult to implement social distancing.
2. Working from home may not always be ideal
While working from home appears to be attractive, many people are not as productive from the home environment for several reasons. For starters, many workers find it tough to concentrate on their work while working from home due to distractions such as pets and kids, cleaning requirements, among other house chores.
Secondly, the environment at home mostly depicts relaxation. The TV, sofa, bed and friends dropping by making it difficult for the mind to shift to work mode. In this case, most people end up procrastinating and postponing work tasks. In addition, not everyone has the space to set up a home office, while to some, it is the affordability that limits them. Lack of an ideal working space means lack of comfort when working, which can be tiring and demoralizing.
Coworking spaces offer an affordable and yet professional working environment together with all the amenities that are available in an office. These spaces are comfortable and inspiring, which make it easy to focus on the tasks at hand.
3. More network, less loneliness
Coworking spaces surround you with several people and that can help in reducing the loneliness that you might be feeling if you were working from home. Short greetings, friendly interactions will improve your mood and give you a feeling of belonging. In addition, you get an opportunity to share about work stresses with other people, which helps in improving your mental health.
Coworking spaces bring together people that are a part of different businesses and industries. You will get to meet other business professionals with who you can exchange ideas and learn things from one another. The solution to a hard task could well be lying with one of your coworkers. Additionally, those small interactions could lead to building up a network with people you otherwise would not have met. Coworking spaces also hold numerous networking events for different industries, which exposes you to more people. This isn’t just an advantage for the fact that it will benefit you in widening your web, but it also opens up doors of new opportunities that can take your business forward.
4. Coworking spaces are accessible and cost-effective
Renting commercial office spaces is a massive expense for most companies. Establishing a well-furnished home office isn’t cheap either. Coworking spaces are a more affordable alternative for companies looking to cut the overheads as well as individuals who want a dedicated working space without incurring the expense. These coworking spaces provide Wi-Fi internet, necessary furniture, access to meeting rooms, business services, and parking among other amenities. All these come to you at a single monthly fee.
In addition, there are coworking companies out there that have multiple branches in different parts of the world. This offers more options for commuting in that employees can save money and time by selecting the nearest office or by selecting a faster route. It also makes it easier for businesses with multiple locations to have regional hubs without compromising on the quality of service. Businesses become more accessible to clients from different regions at a single invoice. Additionally, digital nomads can travel around the world with the hope of finding their favourite coworking services provider wherever they land during their adventure.
5. Coworking spaces are more flexible and productive
The aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic means that there are uncertain times ahead with several businesses restructuring their teams to accommodate the change. Luckily, the coworking spaces are flexible. If you are looking to reduce or upscale the staff, there is no need to get another office space or worry about equipment and furniture. These offices will be well equipped with all the tools and infrastructure as well as amenities such as a temperature controller or air conditioner to make them a more comfortable place. Coworking spaces also offer flexible lease agreements. A company or individual is not tied down by a long-term lease, which makes relocating or termination of services easier.
It is not always that office spaces have to be quiet and focused in order to achieve productivity. There are several workers out there who thrive in a collaborative and busy environment that enables creative thinking. Several freelancers prefer to work from active and noisy workspaces, which is the reason why they often work from coffee shops. The coworking spaces offer a similar vibe with the added attraction of the availability of business-related services. On the other hand, there are those individuals who love working in the quiet for them to power through tasks.
Coworking spaces cater for this lot through dedicated private offices available there. They also have breakout rooms and kitchenettes that provide different working atmospheres for different types of workers. In a nutshell, coworking spaces provide each worker with favourable conditions to thrive. Besides having the perfect working atmosphere for every worker, coworking spaces exude professionalism and focus. Unlike the relaxed setup at home, these spaces have no room for laziness or procrastination. Seeing other people focusing on their tasks inspires you to follow suit.
6. Out of comfort zone
Working from the comfort of your home can easily get you to a comfort zone. With few new and exciting things happening in your workdays, it can be easy to lose your morale and inspiration to achieve more. Coworking spaces will make you break out of your comfort zone with the change of the environment and meeting new people. This could be very beneficial to you, especially in increasing your creativity and getting innovative with ideas. New challenges of adapting to a new setting as well as encountering people with different backgrounds will give you new perspectives and insights. These can go a long way in not only enriching your work but also your personal life. You will get the inspiration to keep pushing harder into new heights.
There are multiple reasons to get out of your comfort zone. Testing yourself how well you will manage new situations and difficulties will make you know yourself and your skills more. Once you know how you deal with new challenges, you will be willing to try new projects more often and thus expand your own capabilities. At first, the fear of the unknown might put you down, but don’t get discouraged, new situations will only bring the best out of you.
Coworking spaces providers are reassessing their floor planning these days. During the last recession, these companies spent millions of dollars in packing many people into the available office spaces. The situation today is exactly the opposite with all the configurations of these shared spaces’ floor plans needing to be adjusted for safety and social distancing. Different hygiene measures will be necessary for the employees to feel at ease in these spaces. The coworking spaces providers are also investing in online community development to stay attuned to the changing scenario. There is still a lot to be done, but people appreciate the importance of community and staying connected now more than ever. There is hope for coworking spaces to recover and continue rising after the global pandemic.