Coworking Space: A Safe Alternative to the Home Office
COVID has required many people to transition to remote working as we have had little choice but to adapt to the new circumstances in order to keep our economy flowing and businesses surviving. Some transitions have been easier for those who have previous experience, but others have found collaboration within teams at home more difficult. To assist, we have chosen our top 10 collaboration tools for remote working. Homes are no longer just a safe place to unwind and have space from work, it has transformed to become the home office. We have quickly had to adapt to this new way of working with the expectation to conform to the reality of working from home and the challenges it may bring for those who struggle with dividing the office and home.
As restrictions begin to slowly lift, and workers return to the office, it is safe to say we have noticed the roads getting a little busier, the coffee shops becoming a little more packed, and the usual hustle and bustle of the city centre resume as the new normal is coming into fruition.
As the tentative return to the office begins, so does the consistent reliance on employers and managers to keep the workspace safe in alliance with government regulations. In a survey of 2000 employees returning to work 62% of employees want employers to set strict policies on who can come into the workplace (e.g., barring anyone who is sick or has recently traveled). However, some key players in major industries, such as Twitter and Google have allowed employees to work from home for as long as they deem necessary, whether it’s until September or for the rest of their time at the company.
The “Third Alternative” between the Office and Remote Working
Coworking spaces can be perceived as economic-driven with a mix of user and institution-led projects. Hence, they can be seen as a third solution to work between the conventional office and remote working. As mentioned in the International Journal of Research and Public Health, the main characteristics of coworking include collaboration, community, sustainability, accessibility, and openness. These core values reflect that the coworking space can be seen as more than just a physical space and rather as a collection of forms of social participation and collaboration that is encouraged by the freedom that coworking spaces can bring to SMEs, self employed, and freelancers, and therefore facilitates innovation and community building within the space.
Coworking spaces generally consist of an open plan office space accompanied by private office space, flex desks, and cafes. Coworking spaces also offer an arrangement of reliable internet services, community management to ensure highest quality service to you, and unique opportunities to go to corporate events or support programs, and liaise with other like minded individuals.
Hot desking or also known as a flex desk has become a growing trend throughout the past few years, mainly for freelancers or workers who don’t need a dedicated office space full time. A flex desk includes renting a desk space in a coworking space, providing a dedicated workstation that is flexible to your working schedule. Additionally, you will be able to reap the same benefits as other members with the same opportunities to use the space and network.
Coworking spaces function to ensure the highest quality of safety possible for members and staff. Contrary to the hesitation people feel about returning to a managed office space, as a coworking space we put our members wellbeing first through creating a safe and secure working environment for those who are ready to return to work. It is a natural element in coworking spaces to change their business model and evolve strategies as the world develops, so here is our FAQ page for our safety standard at campus post COVID.
Is Working From Home Right for Your Team?
Working from home may be well suited to experienced workers however with the introduction of it during COVID, everyone had a very quick and intense introduction to the “home office” and while it did prove to have many benefits and they may outweigh the disadvantages. Workers no longer need to commute to the workplace and some take advantage of the flexible schedule to take breaks or lunches whenever suits them. Also, some believe that working from home gives them extra time to spend with their families, which is a big bonus for those who work extensive jobs. Simple new routines put in place over time remote working such as walking your dog at lunchtime, spending more time with the kids, or quiet time to yourself can make a big change to a typical working week. At Flexjob’s annual survey, it was found that almost 80% of respondents described their typical stress level during the workweek as either “not stressed” or only “moderately stressed” due to the lack of commute, the flexibility, and heightened morale. However, taking one break too many of will power may hinder your productivity in times of change. It is difficult to switch off or detach after a long day at work as there is no clear line between the beginning and end of the day. Also, the level of formal and ad hoc meetings rises with the assumption that workers are stuck at home and therefore “always on”.
Before COVID, the home office was mainly used by employed workers, however coworking spaces are becoming a prevalent established work arrangement among self-employed and freelancers working in the creative line of businesses. As opposed to working from home, coworking spaces provide a professional workstation and environment suitable to network and socialise with other innovators.
Additionally, higher work-life balance and autonomy could be beneficial in coworking spaces, as they are commonly a disadvantage to those working from home, along with social isolation. Self-organization and structure is also beneficial in terms of keeping a constant routine and structure as opposed to the home office. As well as the feeling of inclusion or heightened social elements to working at a coworking space, if your company has a business opportunity that involves meeting clients, home working may not be ideal. The constant inconvenience of finding different venues, locations, or quiet cafes that adhere to social distancing requirements are inadequate and less business-like compared to a secured location built for professional and safe meetings and providing a professional image.
Finding the Perfect Balance
As most companies struggle to find the correct space after the pandemic, the real solution is to find a balance between what workers feel comfortable and safe with. At the moment, we are still at a point where many teams still work from home. However, it is clear that after months of isolation from the office and slow lifting of regulations that teams need to have a secure base to connect in person. Therefore coworking spaces provide the perfect opportunity to balance these uncertainties in a safe manner, not only with providing a flexible desk, office space, or other amenities that tightly adhere to all government regulations, but also with relationship building, community, inspiration and values.
In terms of Talent Garden’s offers and flexible membership plans, we provide a wide range of services to tech freelancers, startups, SME’s who have different needs to be fulfilled. At our campus, we provide a full time office or desk space to members who want to work full time, or flex desks and hot desks to those who may not be ready to fully move back to the office at the moment. Talent Garden are also taking all the steps to ensure we provide the safest, most flexible coworking space possible for our members. We also are providing virtual tours for those interested in our space.
Coworking Vs. Traditional Office
- Coworking spaces consists of freelancers, startups, and SMEs in a range of different companies, ventures, and projects
Due to the similarities and differences between members, the struggle of direct competition or internal politics is lessened, and there is less of a persona or barrier workers need to put up to climb the hierarchy on top of their own workload. When working alongside different kinds of people doing different kinds of work, members can also unexpectedly make their own work identity stronger and be inspired.
- The variety of like minded people in the space means that coworkers have unique skills that they can provide to other community members.
Employees find meaning when working in a culture where it is the norm for members to share their own expertise in similar industries, with new coworking digital events giving plenty of opportunities to do so. Coworking has also been described as the future of safety at work, while still keeping community and personal interactions at its core.
- Studies at Harvard Business Review show that people find more value in Coworking spaces as opposed to the home office.
These values include community, collaboration, learning, and sustainability. These values get reinforced at the annual Global Coworking UnConference. As opposed to the traditional office, it is not simply the case that a person is going to work; they’re also becoming a part of a social movement with other businesses, people, and new connections.
Coworking is not just a space, it holds a community that is designed to support you or your team and allow your business to grow and succeed. Coworking spaces work to surround you with facilities and opportunities to encourage the growth and development of your business whether you are in the early stages of the life cycle or are keeping up momentum with your business’ success. Networking events, workshops – virtual or not – can allow you to meet, socialise and liaise with business people with similar interests and goals.
Due to COVID-19 coworking spaces may be seen in a different light and with the assistance of the government, risk analysis and essential services it is guaranteed to be a safe place for members to come and work in. The regulations set by the government and recommendations of scientists determine that in public places, including coworking spaces, there needs to be tighter control on the density of people in spaces, improved ventilation systems, and strict and thorough cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Although social distancing is key in the transition to the new normal, this pandemic shows us that collaboration and human interaction is needed more than ever before, and having a safe space to do so is ideal for those who crave socialising along with productivity.
At Talent Garden we are always available to acknowledge and answer questions or queries you may have in times of crisis. Health and safety procedures and government regulations are our top priority and we take them very seriously so all measures taken ensure the wellbeing of our members and staff. We want to reassure you that here on our campuses you can run your business with peace of mind while connecting with European innovators as we take care of your new workplace needs. Here you can see how Talent Garden is responding to COVID-19.