15 . Dec . 2020
Summary – The pandemic alone cannot cause coworking to fade away into oblivion, and instead it has caused it to evolve. Learn how coworking spaces continue to adapt to a promising future ahead.
It’s been a while since we’ve been to our usual coworking spaces to get work done or expand our network, and that’s because of the COVID-19 social distancing protocols. However, since many parts across the world are slowly opening up places as the lockdowns get lifted, one question that is looming over the office-goers and companies alike, if it’s safe to recall employees back to offices? Many critics around the world believe that people are more likely to split their time between working from home and traveling to offices. However, as reports show that the working from home fatigue sets in among the majority of workers worldwide, coworking spaces might provide a solution. Now, if you’ve been keeping an open eye to things, you may or may not be surprised to learn that, because coworking has evolved in these few months of 2020.
Gone are the days when coworking spaces meant a physical, open space with the mega community for coworkers to stretch their legs as they work. In fact, the sheer idea of getting people to collaborate from different domains threatened coworking in the initial months of the lockdown, causing zero footfalls, a rise in cancellation of memberships, and a growing fear from shared spaces. But, with time and efforts coworking adapted to the new demands of the people and curated renewed protocols that are gradually bringing people back on the grid. Unlike before, their methodology is now based on people, spacing, and sanitization-centric to normalize the phenomenon of coworking among people.
Credits: Morning Consult
The above graph reveals that while there are a majority of office-goers who are considerably comfortable getting back to the office, there’s also a significant number who’d like to keep working remotely. Polls conducted by the Morning Consult between May 19-21 show that it’s the shared spaces or closed environments that made employees have second thoughts about traveling to offices. Also, there’s also a growing refrain towards using public transport in any means, as experts say that employees would now prefer working closer to their homes and away from the cities, in a post-pandemic era. Therefore, it is important to understand that employees would need major ways to stay productive as well as connected to their coworkers to keep away from getting too lonely at work. According to major coworking spaces across the world, this is exactly what they’ve been working on:
The power of the community can be a huge differentiator when it comes to employee productivity and mental health at the workplace. Especially for coworkers who have been collaborating on many crucial projects together, the shutdown has made their plans go haywire. Therefore, coworking spaces across the world have been taking their coworking space online, where the members get unlimited access to your coworking community via video calls, contributing together remotely on the task at hand. And, the fun’s there too, when you can all hop in to have a small round of charades or cook something delectable together to let off steam whenever you need a breather. In this way, you get the most of your coworking membership, as well as stay engaged with everything that’s going around in your domain. Coworking spaces give the complete control of your work environment at your fingertips for moving to and fro based on your workability and involvement of others.
Many coworking spaces are offering special, customizable ‘work from home packages’ to its members that includes digital programs, lunch-and-learn events, happy hours, work sprint rewards, unwind sessions, etc. For corporate members who constitute a significant part of the actual workforce, the coworking spaces are taking care of the rent payments, and are offering online technical workshops to its employees for upskilling.
Post COVID-19, people would prefer interiors that have efficient and elaborate workstations that have glass dividers or breakers in between to maintain the minimum 6 ft. distance rule as they work. Therefore, coworking spaces have got into renovating their interiors, regrouting the details to give it a more privacy-oriented look and feel. Also, we are noticing that coworking spaces now operate at a minimum capacity of coworkers in a particular time to reduce any possible breaches of physical distancing, as a few of them begin to open. They’ve also enforced red and green zones that can only be accessed by limited people at a given time to effectively carry out social distancing.
As employees prefer working from places nearby their homes to cut back on using public transport, they may as well prefer working on remote completely before eventually getting settled in the suburbs. This has led many coworking spaces plunging into developing coworking centers in the suburbia for chasing such workers to help them from getting too lonely as they work from home. Even for newer startups and other companies, suburban coworking can be a huge success, since it can help them to save enough money as well as avail all high-end facilities available in such centers. Companies can also send a portion of their employees to such coworking spaces, who prefer to work from a location nearby to their homes, in case of productivity issues.
Coworking spaces have also been staying prepared at all times for any situation, including strict and consistent health monitoring protocols of their members and staff. Just like security protocols, they have been on their toes for analyzing any callbacks and entries of their members inside their coworking space. They have been taking personal hygiene of all members seriously since they opened up, providing them with temperature sensors, contact-less sanitizers, PPE kits, oximeters, and more as a necessary precaution to the new normal.
Despite the pandemic redefining the coworking industry almost to its core, the possibilities of the coworking community look promising in a post-COVID-19 era. They’ll be the next generation workplace hubs for employees that would be based on safety-first protocols and affordability. A lot many major coworking companies have provided its members to avail of its coworking space on certain days of the week, especially for enterprises struggling with loans and rent payment failures. In this way, they can continue their operations while recovering from such massive economic losses. They are also merging to provide for the members and small businesses to aid them by financing for a limited period of time to buy them time to bounce back on their feet. It’s one of the domains that has evolved exceedingly to fit right into the requirements of the new workers, freelancers, and business scenarios.
Talking about coworking spaces and the resilient community it has, Zioks is one such coworking space in Kolkata that helps in establishing safe, modern, and technologically sound coworking habitat. It’s overwhelming safety-based interiors, top-of-the-line technological equipment and automated systems make it a perfectly clean, and safe space to be while you’re coworking!