Coworking Spaces Could Be Your Next ‘New Normal’
“Success in a hybrid work environment requires employers to move beyond viewing remote or hybrid environments as a temporary or short-term strategy and to treat it as an opportunity.” ― George Penn, VP at Gartner
The Covid pandemic has wrought dramatic changes on the business landscape, with companies having to scramble to adapt to the new normal of empty offices as employees got to grips with remote working. Then a strange thing happened. What had been seen as disaster mitigation gradually began to yield unexpected benefits…
Employees were happier and more productive. Not only were they getting to spend more time with their loved ones, but they were also saving time and money they would normally have spent on stressful rush-hour commutes.
The flip side of the coin is that many also experienced Work From Home (WFH) fatigue: They missed elements of having a dedicated workspace delineating home life and work life. Some experienced loneliness and longed for the buzz and camaraderie of a shared workspace.
This is where hybrid work environments provide a solution, or rather, solutions - because organizations have a whole host of options to choose from, mixing and matching the home-office combo or predominantly remote for example, to suit the needs of both employees and the company.
One option that’s fast catching on is the use of coworking spaces - an arrangement in which workers of different companies share an office space. The Instant Group forecasts flexible workspace supply growth of over 21% in 2021. By 2030, the flexible workspace market is expected to represent 30% of U.S. office stock. Here are just a few of the potential benefits for both your company and your employees:
Making use of coworking spaces can save both your business and your employees a lot of money. For the company, it can provide a cost-effective path to growth without the need to commit to the higher overheads additional long-lease office rental entails. For employees, a short-term flexible workspace closer to home can offer significant savings on commuting costs and even allow for relocation to more affordable areas. This attractive perk can in turn save the company in terms of more negotiable salaries.
Coworking spaces offer remote-working employees a happy medium between the isolation of home and the inconvenience of commuting longer distances to company offices. As Lucas Seyhun, CEO of New York coworking space and serviced office provider The Farm Soho asserts, “They benefit from having a dedicated space outside the confines and distractions of home, enjoying the company of others with all the resources of a traditional office. This means there’s a clearer separation of personal time and work, so hours spent in a coworking space become more purposeful and time at home more restful - just as it should be.”
Professionals with access to coworking spaces have been shown to demonstrate increased productivity over those in traditional offices for a number of reasons: According to the Harvard Business Review, “coworking spaces consist of members who work for a range of different companies, ventures, and projects. Because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in”. They can choose when and how to interact with others. This encourages a sense of unique identity that can boost self-confidence and result in enhanced productivity.
Coworking spaces give employees more control over their time. Many facilities offer 24/7 access, so professionals can work around other commitments and personal preferences in terms of the times of day they feel most productive and creative. Studies show that workers who have more autonomy in determining how and when they work are happier, more satisfied, and more engaged.
“The future we envision for work allows for infinite virtual workspaces that will unlock social and economic opportunities for people regardless of barriers like physical location.” ― Andrew Bosworth, VP Facebook Reality Labs