The pandemic drastically disrupted the traditional workplace model. For businesses to continue operating despite the threat of COVID-19, most asked employees to temporarily work from home (WFH) while offices remained closed.
Interestingly, what seemed to be a coping mechanism for businesses turned out to be a boon for most. According to McKinsey, working from home helped establish remote work as the new norm, accelerated the growth of e-commerce, and propelled organizations to rely more on artificial intelligence and automation.
And while WFH is here to stay, companies and employees are looking for ways to build upon this new development for greater productivity and efficiency.
One of the key discoveries that has arisen in recent months is the advantages that come with coworking, or working from a communal environment in a flexible manner.
What many employers have found in lieu of the pandemic is that working from home and coworking complement each other in a number of ways, creating a more productive and harmonious relationship between employers and employees.
Coworking: a tangible replacement for the traditional office?
Coworking spaces are community centers where professionals from different companies and backgrounds come to work on their respective projects and businesses. While coworking shares similarities with traditional offices, it is also a highly beneficial style of work for those in favor of a work-at-home setup.
Professionals in coworking spaces are not confined to cubicles, meaning there are no barriers to communicating and collaborating. This creates the possibility of networking and forging business opportunities with people in different fields or organizations.
Employers also benefit from offering coworking spaces as an option to their employees. Rather than renting office space with a long-term lease, all furnishings and equipment are provided by the coworking space and can be rented on a monthly or as-needed basis.
Ultimately, the flexibility of the coworking model makes it easier for companies to manage their resources while encouraging a healthy work-life balance for employees.
Providing a much-needed change of scenery or “third space”
While working from home has its perks, some people may prefer keeping their professional lives separate from their personal lives. Coworking offers this much-needed “third space,” or at the very least, a change of scenery that can add structure to the work week.
Unlike the traditional home and work environments – the first and second spaces, as defined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg – third spaces such as bars, cafés, and tree-lined squares “host the regular, voluntary, informal and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work.”
Coworking spaces fall into this category as well and have become the venue of choice for remote workers, freelance or otherwise. This is mainly because working from a flex office space gives employees that desired division between work and home life.
Initiating a hybrid work model
Some companies are not convinced that allowing people to work away from the office is the best way forward. In this case, the perfect compromise is a hybrid workplace.
While this model of work will vary by company, the goal is to allow employees to work remotely for part of the week and to utilize office space for the remainder.
With flexibility being the top priority for employees post-pandemic, a hybrid model should be able to satisfy both employers and their teams in today’s professional landscape. It’s all about striking a balance between achieving the best results and keeping everyone in the organization happy.
Most of all, a hybrid workplace encourages everybody to be more accountable for the work they produce. A coworking space setup that’s closer to employees’ homes can act as a bridge to facilitate the new hybrid era, shortening commutes while maintaining professional expectations.