Whether we like it or not, unfortunately, Covid-19 is here to stay.
It has impacted many areas of our lives, our social life, family life and, of course, our working life. Many industries have had to cut down on their costs, a significant number of them had to shut down temporarily, or for good.
Since more and more experts are saying that we will have to learn how to live with it, so it seems we are going to have to learn new ways to deal with everyday situations, cope with day-to-day problems in a different way and to adapt to the new circumstances.
One may ask – so what does that mean for many businesses who have had to shut down their offices in order to prevent the spread of the virus? Well, many predict the thriving of the idea of coworking and the boom of new coworking spaces.
What is a Coworking Space?
Generally speaking, a coworking space is a place where people gather to work independently, or in groups on different projects. The main difference between the people working in a coworking space and people working in a company is that people in a coworking space need not work for the same company. It is usually a group of people sharing the same ideas and visions but working separately.
Coworking spaces offer the same perks as working in an office. For example, you get printers, Wi-Fi, snacks, coffee, but with a lot more flexibility concerning the lease and the time you spend there. Some more equipped spaces offer 3D printers, gym and other utilities. The main idea around it is to make your working space as comfortable and as relaxing as it can be. Many big companies are actually designing their company buildings on the original idea of coworking spaces.
Coworking as an idea originated in Germany and was founded by a group of hackers who met to share ideas, space and information. It was later developed by Brad Neuberg who believed that traditional working spaces were unproductive. It started expanding and not it is predicted that there will be more than 40,000 coworking spaces and several million coworking members throughout the world by the year 2025.
It is a distinct way of combining life and work in an unordinary fashion. It is comfortable enough not to deprive you of the creativity and stimulation you need in order to do your job, yet designed in such a way that you don’t get too relaxed, since you did get there to work.
Who used coworking spaces before Covid-19?
When you think about coworking, the first thing that comes to mind are startup companies and freelancers. It is quite sensible, when you think about starting your own business, to try to find a space that is cost-effective and yet office-like. A place you can gather your team and start working.
Freelancers also take a big share in the percentage of coworking space users, since it can be an excellent way of meeting other freelancers, businesspersons, sharing ideas and getting the stimulation you need for creating something new and different.
Small businesses that can’t afford expensive leases could also be found here as well as big companies like Nike. Having offices and managing them throughout the world can be quite difficult and time consuming, needless to say expensive, so big companies often sign a contract with coworking companies where they put them in charge of organizing the work space, providing their employees with everything they need to get the work done.
What are the Benefits of Coworking Spaces?
Energy and inspiration
Traditional offices, especially open offices, can be quite mind-numbing and discouraging and they often achieve the opposite effect from the one intended.
Research shows that people working in big, corporate offices, have less motivation to do their jobs and achieve targets they were assigned to. Psychologists say it has something to do with the way they view themselves in such big spaces, where everybody does the same thing, over and over again, every day. It can be disheartening and make them feel as not important enough and a part of a bigger machinery they can have no influence on.
That is why coworking has become so popular with even the big corporations. The surroundings are cozier, more intimate, making the employees feel more connected to their company.
Also, having so many different people from different companies around you, sharing the same energy and giving you different ideas, can be extremely inspiring and motivational. The amount of work done in such environments is significantly larger than the one done in offices, studies show.
Sense of belonging
As it has been said, the way you observe yourself in a company can greatly affect your contribution to the overall work. Believing you are just a small piece of a much bigger puzzle can be awfully demotivating.
In a coworking space, you feel that you are a part of a community where people share ideas, help you with the difficulties you may have. The energy you emit is the same, and creativity you express due to that stimulating environment is limitless. Once you become “a regular” with all the other “regulars,” it can be quite beneficial to your state of mind.
Frankly, flexibility is one of the main perks of coworking. Firstly, it cost-effective, since you don’t need to sign a long-term lease which you are obliged to do in other business buildings. You can have flexible deals with coworking companies, which allow you to decide on the length of your staying and the working hours. As it was said, it is especially beneficial for small businesses and freelancers who need a low-cost space for working.
Secondly, flexible working hours are something every employee desires. Not everybody is an early bird, and some birds actually need their alone time to drink their bird coffee in peace in the morning.
On the other hand, some opt for morning shift, since they want to finish their work early. The possibilities are endless. Many bigger companies have adopted the flexible working hours since employees have proved to be more motivated to do their job if they can decide when they can do it.
Leaving the house
Now, a lot of people are under the impression that working from home is the best idea ever. And, admittedly, it does have its advantages.
But, even though such advantages are many, there are also many downsides. For instance, by not having an appropriate working space to stimulate you, nor a boss being there to tell you to work harder, it is easy to lose focus and procrastinate.
That is why more and more freelancers are opting for finding a suitable work space, which will not only prevent them from getting off track but also motivate them to use the most of their working time.
Networking in coworking spaces is basically a given.
By meeting new people, you can establish important business connections which may prove to be essential to you in the future.
Furthermore, there are times you just feel you are stuck. Coworking spaces are perfect for solving a lot of problems, since people working around you can be of great help giving you new perspectives and allowing you to get a fresh insight into what you are doing. Moreover, you can be the one helping, which may build your reputation.
How Will Companies Benefit from Coworking Spaces Post-Covid?
With the idea of traditional office life inevitably changing for good due to the pandemic, many wonder how businesses will continue working.
But fear not – that is where coworking spaces come to the fore.
Coworking has unique things to offer over the traditional working spaces, which will make it even more appreciated in the future, as big and small businesses alike try to bounce back and move forward after the pandemic is over.
Remote working has become the new and “improved” way of working
Research shows that many companies have managed to shift 98% of their work from working from an office to working remotely. Many businesses that have been openly against this type of work management are now realizing the potentials of the new work space organization and are already planning to adapt to the new circumstances.
Many big corporations are searching the ways to distribute their employees to different locations to diminish the risk of spreading the virus by reducing the number of people working together. By doing this, people will feel more safe and less stressed about getting sick, which will allow them to be more productive.
Also, many employees got used to the idea of remote working and flexible working hours, so providing them with smaller and healthier alternatives to big offices will certainly attract them to come back to work.
Sense of togetherness has become even more important
Regrettably, Covid-19 has affected our social lives tremendously and made us distance from our close ones, our family, friends and colleagues. However, every sociology books tells us that we, human beings, are “a social species that relies on cooperation to survive and thrive.” That is why, even though remote working is a healthier alternative for surviving a pandemic crisis, working from home may not be sustainable in the long run.
Since adapting will be the key, finding a compromise between keeping ourselves healthy and having social connections will be the future of working. In this case, coworking spaces will be the best solution since they are small enough to keep only a limited number of people, yet big enough to help you feel as a part of a community.
Coworking will be essential in rebuilding connections and helping businesses repair the damage this crisis has done. As it has been said, working in these type of spaces will help them establish new relationships, find new partners, increase the amount of their work and thus expand their business.
People working from home during the pandemic largely miss having conversations, both contributive ones and small talk, they miss socializing. Making them feel as a part of community again will help them find more motivation to work. Every company will benefit from that.
Companies can focus on the important things
For a long time, big corporations have ignored what freelancers and small businesses have realized long ago – that coworking spaces offer a lot more flexibility when it comes to lease, organization and costs.
Only now have they truly realized the true possibilities of the coworking space. Not only do they not have to sign long-term leases but they are also free from one other tiresome responsibilities – having to manage the organization of a traditional office setting. Now everything is in the hands of the coworking company, and thus they have all the more time to focus on their job and getting their companies out of the crisis.
If some changes happen, coworking spaces are more flexible, which will give the company incredible opportunities to expand their team with minimal disruption.
Health benefits are immeasurable
It is true that at the moment, the safest place for all people is at home. Having to work in big corporate spaces again is not very likely in the foreseeable future. Coworking spaces represent a healthier alternative, where the worker can feel safe in non-crowded environment and yet be able to socialize.
Of course, the coworking companies will have to change many things too. The hygienic procedures will have to be firmer, the distance between the working groups will have to be bigger, and the cleaning of the surfaces will have to be much more thorough.
However, that will be much easier to do in a smaller space and represents, once again, a task that business owners themselves do not have to deal with. The coworking company’s job is to provide a safe space, and it will be much more efficient than, let’s say, a business owner trying to keep his business afloat after the pandemic.
Coworking spaces are a cheaper alternative
In the end, the biggest advantage of coworking spaces, which will save a lot of businesses a lot of money, is the fact that renting a space in a coworking company is cheaper that renting a space in an office building.
Private offices require taking care of each individual space, ventilation and energy consumption, whereas you don’t have to worry about that when it comes to open plan offices.
It will take a lot of effort to get accustomed to life in the Covid-19 pandemic. It is here to stay and that is a change we will have to make in our way of thinking. When it comes to business only the companies that manage to adopt the changes and adapt to the new circumstances will succeed in surviving the crisis.