There’s no denying it – Covid is here to stay, at least for the next year or two, as many global experts have said.
And that, basically, means that offices, and, quite possibly, the entire business culture, will have to change… and change considerably.
One thing that Covid has also led to is an increased need for remote work, that is, predominantly work from home.
And even before the pandemic, there were many people that chose remote work. In fact, freelancers make up about one third of today’s workforce. Some foresee that the number will continue to rise in the future.
Now, while remote work is great, and some really do enjoy working from home, there are many, many others who crave a more structured and managed office space, where they can actually interact with other human beings.
For those that find themselves in this pickle, the solution may be simple – coworking spaces.
Adapting to the New World
Since 2005, when the first coworking office space opened, the entire concept has come a long way. Those who manage such spaces have gone from simply offering their space to freelancers to enhancing their service in order to meet the budding demands of the market.
While many thought it a fad when it first appeared, it has proven to be anything but. And Covid has also proven that such spaces may even be better than traditional ones.
The fact that it’s versatile and flexible adds to its appeal in the Covid and (hopefully) post-Covid world.
Not many companies now want to lease office space in the long run, since it can prove to be quite costly now, when returning to offices is not even guaranteed.
That is why shared work spaces appeared as the logical substitute.
Hey, a new world requires new solutions, right? And it seems that coworking might actually fit the bill when it comes to answering the needs of the new age.
A Typical Coworking Space – Not So Typical, After All
Whether you’re in need of hot desks, simple work tables or even if you need a virtual office, coworking offices are the right choice for you.
There are so many versions of coworking offices that it may even be hard to choose. But there are a few things you should consider when choosing what you need.
These spaces come in, literally, all shapes and sizes. While some may have only 10 desks, others offer huge spaces, with as many as 120 desks! Of course, some employees work best in large crowds, while others prefer cozy and small spaces, so make sure you take this into account when choosing.
While some offer only individual desks in a communal working space, others offer private and even multi-desk offices. Again, take into consideration the wishes of your workers to see what the best fit might be.
Well, there’s not much to say about the design of coworking offices, except – they’re appealing to the eye. Their main goal is to make everyone feel comfortable. Usually, these include large rooms with sitting desks, standing desks, sofas, bean bags, even some spaces designed just for fun, such as foosball tables, table tennis and even (even) hanging swings. They are simply designed to lure people in. Well, it’s not as ominous as it sounds. They are actually just designed to make people want to work there instead of working from home, in isolation. And, actually, it seems that no one is willing to work in isolation anymore.
How might coworking spaces lead to a new age?
Simply, in this day and age, the benefits of co work spaces are innumerable. Also, one of their main advantages to traditional offices is their adaptability.
Basically, while many adjustments will have to be made, it is simply much, much easier to make them in such spaces.
That is why they’re here to stay.
Coworking saves money
Yes, the main purpose of coworking offices is to offer space to freelancers and individual workers who need it.
But that’s not all there is to it.
Many startups and small businesses actually prefer office share spaces because, simply put, they are saving money in the long run. Instead of renting office space with numerous rooms that are rarely used (think boardrooms and conference rooms), workers can use them whenever they need and pay just for the time they use them.
Also, another beneficial thing in coworking spaces is that most of them come with different monthly rental plans, which can, in fact, include a certain number of hours in conference rooms.
In a shared office space, everything is built into the monthly cost, such as the internet, utilities, basic office supplies and even printer ink. That is all unknown in traditional offices.
It offers better facilities
Usually, coworking spaces are incredibly well-equipped.
Well, better equipped than most traditional offices, that’s for sure.
Their offer includes, of course, a fast internet connection, office equipment and meeting areas, but it also includes great amenities, such as kitchens and lunchrooms.
Some coworking offices even offer staffed front desk and administrative support, which can be at your service at any point during your time there.
It builds a sense of community
One of the things that people seem to miss most in the pandemic is the sense of community. They miss interacting with others and exchanging opinions on a daily bases.
This was an advantage of coworking even before the pandemic, and it will prove to be especially vital after it.
Such spaces allow for greater interaction. This is a great way of sharing ideas, improving your business, networking with people you otherwise might not have. The basic idea here is – if you’re surrounded by other entrepreneurs and innovators, this will inspire you to strive for more.
Coworking spaces might actually help people excel in their fields, and career boosts are definitely needed in the Covid and post-Covid era.
Also, it might be a good chance to snag an employee/consultant or two. Let’s be honest – there’s nothing stopping small business owners from interacting with possible new hires in the space, thus further expanding their business.
And, additionally, some shared offices even organize events, such as fitness classes or networking events, especially designed to help coworkers connect with others. That way, they are encouraging and facilitating wider professional connections.
While this may be a bit more difficult to achieve during Covid, it is not impossible. After all, we’ve already learnt to live with the rules, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to transfer those rules into event-organizing.
A bit of meticulous planning should do the trick.
It helps a business grow
Now, if you have a budding business, there’s a few additional benefits of coworking spaces.
For instance, if your business grows and you hire more workers, a problem with a traditional office is that you would have to look for a whole new office in order to accommodate all your workers.
Well, that is not the case with coworking.
If you need to increase the number of workers, you can simply rent additional desks. And vice versa, if you need to downsize or change your rental plans in any way, that’s not a problem. After all, you’re not locked in a rigid lease.
You can be productive anywhere
Many coworking companies offer the option of flexible membership plans, which, in turn, enables you to be productive even when you have to travel.
For instance, if you’re looking for a coworking office to do business in while you’re on the move, you can definitely find a place within some chain of coworking companies that have a space in your chosen city.
There’s no need to stall with work, everything’s right there, at your grasp.
Employees will be more satisfied
One thing that Covid has also done is reduce the level of employee satisfaction almost across all fields.
The constant stress and the constant worry usually get to people and it’s not difficult to imagine that people need all the positive vibes they can get.
And studies have clearly shown that people working in a co shared office space are more motivated, happier and actually see their work as being more meaningful. Surveys even reveal that coworking helps employees achieve a better work/life balance.
And we all know how important that is in today’s world. Especially after the pandemic.
How to increase safety measures during and after Covid
There are numerous norms that coworking spaces can adopt to adhere to policies recommended by the World Health Organization.
Let’s face it, the new office spaces will have to adjust to the new world or simply disappear.
And that is not something that benefits anyone, frankly.
And while changing things during Covid is not easy, it’s definitely doable. Many solutions are available, you simply need to be methodical to succeed.
The space needs to be clean
And when we say clean… we mean, super-duper clean.
Many will note that even before the pandemic, regular hygienic practices were important. However, we all know an office or two where they were… lax, so to speak.
But, that can in no way be the case nowadays.
Coworking spaces are particularly vulnerable because of the flexibility the entire concept entails. And, of course, increased risk in the office necessarily means more responsibility to keep the space as clean as possible.
The most important thing is to regularly sanitize and wipe the areas that people most touch in a day – elevator buttons, printers, windows, desks, doorknobs, even coffee machines. Another important thing is to disinfect the entire co shared space after everyone has left. This needs to be done well before the next day, so no one has to rush.
Worker education is important
If you’re considering coworking spaces for your business post-Covid, you need to know for sure that your workers will be healthy.
And, for that to happen, they need to be up to date with the latest word on healthy social practices.
You should educate your coworkers in any way possible. First, set up posters that point to healthy social practices (you know, the usual – using a handkerchief when coughing/sneezing), try to encourage social distancing and direct your workers towards avoiding touching their face.
When it comes to the placement of the aforementioned posters, try to put them somewhere where they will be frequently seen.
Another thing you can do is organize events that can motivate people to do respiratory exercises, cardio and even yoga. That will definitely improve the immunity of your workers and boost their morale. After all, nothing says a healthy work environment like healthy practices.
Provide any assistance possible
Some things that might attract more workers to coworking spaces during Covid and after are precisely healthy practices.
Some of them might even seem out of the ordinary, but it is necessary to show that those in charge of the space mean business when it comes to dealing with Covid.
For instance, it is not too difficult to use temperature screening at the entrance and provide hand sanitizing faucets there (and not just there, also in several other, strategically important places). While temperature checks alone are not too effective in safeguarding against the infection, paired with other safety measures, they will reduce the chances significantly!
Another thing that might help you gain more customers is sharing healthy snacks and vitamin beverages. Talk about going above and beyond!
Redesigning the space
It may be painful, but it is also necessary.
Gone is the era of an open plan with a perfect view of everything and everyone. Sadly, this needs to be the norm, at least until the pandemic abates.
Many coworking giants are planning to change the complete infrastructure of their spaces. This is done while taking into consideration social distancing, to avoid overcrowding the workspace.
However, if owners of the space are not able to spend too much as to completely redesign the space, there are still ways they can plan the optimum use of it. For instance, crowds can be avoided by extending working hours, or even opening the space 24/7. Another idea is to provide cubicles or small spaces where people can work while also feeling like they’re being cautious and safe.