As someone who’s been in the commercial real estate business for 40 years, I’ve seen the ebbs and flows of the workplace, but nothing quite as dramatic as the shift the CRE industry has experienced in the past three years.
I, like many of my peers in the industry, have accepted that remote working is here to stay. However, the shift to hybrid working is now becoming a more permanent option for corporations across all industries. The opportunity for coworking is a viable alternative to working from home for professionals craving connection, productivity. and opportunity.
I often pose questions of what would be the long-term effects of working from home. How would a fully remote work structure impact a company after 5 years, or 10 years?
Love it or hate it, we must consider what a decade of working from home will look like, and what the CRE industry will look like if working from home stays without hybrid opportunities. I have enjoyed my time at my home office, but coworking spaces provide undeniable benefits to the organizations and employees who are without an office of their own.
Humans are social animals
This is the nature of humanity. We are social animals. With decades spent working in an office environment, the relationships I have built and the collaborative effort to make projects come to life were created within those four walls.
The need to connect, conversate, and understand each other in the workplace setting is not only an asset to the individual employee but for the entire business. Reimagining offices into coworking spaces gives us the opportunity to foster relationships and spark creativity that simply can’t be replicated virtually.
We’ve also learned that young professionals who began working during the pandemic have little-to-no office experience, and that can be a disservice to their individual growth. Last year’s Accenture survey found three in four Gen Zers (74%) want more opportunities to collaborate with colleagues face-to-face, a higher percentage than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.
A hybrid coworking setting creates a sense of learning and understanding for those new in their career, while providing a space for young professionals to learn about what it means to work in a corporate setting.
Office space with flexible structure
In today’s working world, offices look very different from what they used to be. I have developed, built and invested in these spaces for decades, and I’ve seen the transition from bustling office buildings to Zoom home offices. The industry will continue shifting to meet the needs of businesses, but one thing is certain to remain – flexibility.
The office environment is there to provide support when you and your employees need it most for important client meetings, collaborative month-end planning or all employee meetings. Coworking spaces allow businesses without a full contract office lease to have the option to work in a structured environment.
They offer flexible structure, allowing employees to use the space when it’s most conducive for their work. Even simple advantages of conference rooms for meetings, communal space for collaboration and access to office supplies and meeting appropriate Zoom backgrounds all are investment in ensuring your employees have access to the spaces and tools they need to feel prepared and successful.
Productivity and efficiency are two words that will always be thrown into discussions addressing the benefits of remote work. However, the ability to work in a professional environment conducive to conducting business is proven to increase productivity for professionals.
According to Pew Research, workers with jobs that can be done from home who choose to go into their workplace cite preference and productivity as major reasons why they rarely or never work from home. And 61% cite feeling more productive at their workplace as a significant reason.
The habits I built and learned at the beginning of my career have stayed with me and allow me to mentor others to create a productive and efficient workplace. Adding coworking to a hybrid work model will enable employees to develop habits and routines centered around their workplace. Additionally, providing a space for employees to go into the office for collaborative work and in-person meetings sets them up for success in their day-to-day task completion.
A wider network for major meetings
Don’t take your big clients to the local coffee shop when you have an office space to host them. We’ve all had to adjust to what major meetings look like over the past three years. But while some internal meetings can be held from a home office, this is simply unacceptable for bigger external meetings with clients, investors or partners.
Coworking elevates hybrid environments by helping us reinvest in our clients and employees to add structure to those essential meetings. The office space allows us to not only expand on deal flow opportunities, but to attract more talent and cultivate an environment where companies can have a more connective space.
Keep work at work; keep home at home
According to a Remote.co survey of 200 full-time remote workers, 40% said unplugging after work hours is the biggest pain point they encounter when working in their virtual environment. Remote workers are living in a gray area where they are unsure where work stops, and home life begins. It can feel like work never has an off switch for those employees who are fully remote.
Investing in a coworking space helps promote the separation between work and home, allowing employees to create better balance in their work and personal lives. We need to invest in our employees’ ability to unplug outside their workplace.