Coworking: The Future For Safe, Flexible and Innovative Workspaces Post COVID-19
Whether your company was ready or not, the moment quarantine measures, lockdowns and social distancing was mandated, the shift to remote working was rapid and maybe for some a little bumpy. But now that it is set up, teams are finding new synergies and employees are feeling a new sense of responsibilized freedom, resulting often in high productivity, the outlook of going back to an old fashioned office workday seems almost impossible. The data that already supports the benefits of remote and smart working has been around for years, like a nine-month-long study concluded by Stanford that found remote workers were 13% more productive than in-office counterparts. But it was not until this global emergency forced a large part of the world’s population into the biggest human experiment ever to test what it looks like to really “work from home” that executive teams had to reevaluate any assumptions.
And while this pandemic has had many people rethinking company strategies and ways to save costs, some solutions like remote working seem to have become a long term change that will remain. A Gartner survey done in March 2020 revealed that 74% of CFO intend to shift at least 5% of previously on-site employees to permanently remote positions post-COVID-19.
But it is extremely important to take all aspects into consideration when making these changes. A simple one is not everyone likes to work from home, even just considering the need for correct office equipment like a chair and a desk for postural health, correct lighting etc. are elements that need to be discussed. It is also fundamental to design a system that checks on your team’s mental health, for example, studies done by Buffer found that 22% of remote employees report that unplugging after work is their biggest challenge and 21% say that the biggest struggle of working remotely is loneliness.
A very simple answer to not only the above points but for also making sure your employees have a safe workspace that will implement all the safety measures needed going into a post-COVID world is coworking.
Why is Coworking the Future
All coworking spaces are currently recreating their spaces to respond to all government and safety regulations. They are redesigning floor plans, common areas and how members will interact in the future. Places like Talent Garden care as much for their members as you do for your employees, and they have a mission to create alternative workplaces that will put people’s health, productivity and needs first. And you might be asking yourself – who is doing that right now for my office? Or you are already looking at the costs of these changes. Coworking again has an extreme amount of data supporting the benefits companies, and their employees have by being part of these communities, but now it is also providing solutions to the way we need to work in the new normal that is coming.
Smart working is about a balance that results in having a high-performance team that is as productive and efficient as possible. This is done by mixing your needs, and your employee’s needs with a flexible work environment and coworking is designed specifically for this.
1 | Coworking offers Safety & Flexibility
The past few months have shown us that everything can change in an instant. If you look back to only January of this year would you have ever imagined our streets, shops and our offices would be empty today? Not only does that show us that our need for flexible office spaces is a new must-have but that we also need to take precaution when returning into the world and our offices to keep our teams safe. Coworking is a place that was not only built to provide everything you need for conducting your business, but they are by nature, continuously adapting to the needs of its surrounding ecosystem. And right now they are transforming into safety first environments that will do everything in their power to make sure their spaces are secure, clean and being used safely by members.
Examples of Safety Measures being taken in managed offices:
- Applying rules like scaled entry times to remove peak moments that may result is gatherings.
- Entry temperature controls with infrared thermometer scanners
- Supplying antibacterial gel and installing dispensers at various checkpoints
- All main contact points have disinfectant wipes for members to use
- Providing simple ways to request extra cleaning using technology like Amazon Dash buttons.
- Redesign the spaces to ensure safety distances can be respected.
- Additional meeting rooms with participant limitations and offering online solutions like Zoom.
- Converting event spaces and into coworking
- Implementing contactless options like cashless payment service, digital tools for queue management etc.
- IoT sensors for air quality control
- See more about how we are creating safe and secure work environments after COVID-19
For companies going into the future coworking offers a flexible solution, a place for you to be agile and provide scalable options. For example, creating a scheduled rotational roster that invites your team to come to the office on certain days and staying at home on others means you don’t need an office that can sit your entire team at the same time, while when necessary like for team building, project kickoffs etc. you can book a larger space inside the building to have your team all come together. This type of fallibility is hugely valuable and can save a lot of money.
2 | Coworking supports Community & Innovation
COVID-19 has taken a toll on social interactions but if anything it has just highlighted the value and importance of being part of a community. People are already discovering and rethinking ways to come together and connect while staying safe because it is a vital part of our lives. This is also another incredible benefit of being inside a coworking space, the community that inhabits the spaces and the connection with innovators across locations, countries, industries and professions is extremely valuable with undeniable benefits. Being part of a community of innovators is like having an extended team of experts that surround you and your employees. It brings to life a sense of belonging to a bigger ecosystem of entrepreneurs and professionals. It enables innovations to happen, thanks to unexpected conversations. Creativity comes from spontaneous comments and impromptu brainstorming with people that can see past company assumptions. You can find support, talent and like-minded professionals, and it has a racially and ethnically diverse value that McKinsey found companies need to outperform industry norms by 35%. Coworking spaces that truly understand the power and benefits of having a connected community will support members in many ways making sure that they are supported and continuously engaging in activities together, that right now can all be done online.
Examples of Community Valuing and Activities inside Shared Offices:
- Creating a community that has shared values and passions
- Community managers that work to connect members
- Networking activities like informal meetups, creatives breakfasts and educational events
- Extra online community work that supports connections that go beyond borders
- Creating events and activities around shared interests within the community
- Free training, educational opportunities, and more that supports real business needs
- Mentoring, partnerships and offers that are exclusive to members
Diverse cultural perspectives will inspire creativity and drive innovation inside your company, and a community filled with highly engaged impact-driven people will hold opportunities for both personal and professional growth for you and your team. Elisa Vadanovici, a Marketing Manager at HOSCO and member of Talent Garden, shared “Working in a coworking space while being a part of a bigger company helps because you can get different points of view from other people working in different fields and Industries” You will also find local market knowledge and insight that will make your business more competitive and profitable without having to go over all the research and you will learn from other peoples failures and success.
3 | In Technology We Trust
The equivalent of more than a decade of digital transformation progress and advancements will be made by the time the COVID-19 pandemic passes. We are seeing unprecedented demand for digital and technology solutions and tech companies are rising to the challenge, providing successful solutions from everything in health tech, fintech, data visualisation, project management etc. And coworking spaces will take full advantage of the offered digital technologies to create safe, efficient and unique work environments. But why stop there, we should not want to just be influenced by technology. We should aim to be a part of these fundamental advancements happening in society. The Talent Garden community is made up of 4,500 digital and tech professionals located in eight countries across Europe. It is a place that goes beyond coworking offering training in digital fields with its internal education institute the Talent Garden Innovation School. It is a reference point for European innovation and the launchpad for pioneers in technology thanks to the network of connections that includes startups, investors, key industry players and corporations partners.
The Coronavirus crisis of 2020 has accelerated the practice of smart and remote working and the understanding of its benefits both for companies and employees. And coworking represents the multipurpose work environment of the future and not just because of its capabilities of providing safe work environments, or for its flexibility and low-cost options but also because of its innovation culture. These places should encourage their members to have an experimental mindset that drives the freedom to explore thanks to alternative workstations and meeting new people. Trying new methods and different techniques to break the mould and change restrictive patterns leads to breakthroughs.
Supporting an innovation culture in your business also means creating a space for it, and that starts with the physical workplace. And we don’t mean interior decoration or motivational quotes on the walls but by putting your employees in a space designed to encourage collaboration and creativity among innovators.