Until around March of 2020, coworking commonly occurred within a shared office or designated coworking space. However, pandemic conditions quickened the transition to virtual and hybrid workspaces. As with many industries facing restrictions from the pandemic, the future of coworking was certainly in question.
With COVID-19 changing the definition of office space, working with your peers and colleagues now looks different than ever before. In order to meet the needs of workers in the new “post-pandemic” environment, virtual and hybrid coworking models are mingling with coworking solutions.
As our working traditions change, you’ll need tools and strategies to help you prepare for the future of coworking. Here we’ve detailed what that might look like and how you can set yourself up for coworking success no matter how the workplace changes.
The future of coworking
It wasn’t until the last few decades that businesses and individuals began renting out shared workspaces to accommodate their professional needs.
This strategy quickly became popular, as coworking presents a great opportunity: it gives a team or single worker all the benefits of sharing a space with other professionals with few drawbacks. Rent is cheaper, and you won’t have to worry about maintenance and utilities.
However, any kind of physical closeness comes with its risks during a public health crisis. For this reason, workers are increasingly adopting virtual workspaces.
What does this mean for the future of coworking?
As the nature of work itself changes with the pandemic and new technologies, all professionals need to be aware of their working options. After all, where and how you work can make a big difference in your overall productivity.
The trends of the present indicate a move towards hybridized and virtual coworking spaces. Here’s what these options mean for you:
First, let’s talk about fully virtual office work. The COVID-19 pandemic made the virtual office a staple of many of our working lives, but that doesn’t mean these digital alternatives are the future all on their own. Instead, virtual offices have enabled a trend in remote work that will impact the future of coworking.
That’s because virtual offices offer their own range of benefits that fill in the gaps of remote work. For example, a virtual office service can provide your business with direct address and mail forwarding options as well as receptionist integration and access to helpful tools. These are essential features to have even if your staff is all working remotely.
Meanwhile, virtual offices provide a huge selling point for coworking operators. A connected office ready to stream meetings seamlessly around the world can fulfill a big need in the working market. Businesses will be eager to rent and utilize these spaces as remote work continues to be popular.
Coworking access passes
The future of coworking will also see more utilization of coworking access passes that connect traveling or remote workers to a network of optimized workspaces.
Let’s face it: collaborating remotely can be exceptionally difficult. With conflicting time zones, agendas, and software tools surrounding your coworkers, you need a place to go to plug in and coordinate schedules and personalities. Coworking access passes ensure that no matter where you are, you have that place to go.
These passes are taking off in popularity as the world opens up once again to business travel. Global Pass is one example of a coworking pass that grants workers access to coworking locations in 105 countries around the globe. As trade and business continue to open their geographical boundaries, coworking passes will undoubtedly be a must-have for traveling professionals.
In the future, access passes are sure to be a big part of coworking for workers looking to engage in a fully hybrid experience.
Hybrid workspaces are blended working models designed to give workers optimal flexibility while retaining a physical element of coworking. With hybrid spaces, a worker can choose to either log in from home or occupy an office location while they complete their daily tasks.
Hybrid models are the future of coworking as business leaders look for opportunities to bring employees back in without eliminating the flexibility and comfort workers have become accustomed to while working from home.
In fact, the pivot to hybrid work is a great compromise for workers and managers alike, because it addresses the unique challenges of working from home while providing many of the benefits.
As great as working from home can be, it can take its toll on the mental health of employees who are unused to and unprepared for long periods of isolation. You need to create a balance complete with helpful strategies if you are to succeed in such an environment. Hybrid spaces can be the perfect coworking solution, offering a chance to create that balance by stepping out of the home.
In the meantime, coworking can save companies money on office space while still providing a mental health resource to workers in the form of a dedicated professional get-away.
Exploring these options as they evolve can help give you and your business the space and solutions it needs to work effectively.
How you can be part of it
Right now is an exciting time to operate a coworking space or use one for your business model. Operators are finding all kinds of cool ways to experiment with space and technology to produce the best conditions for any workforce. As you reassess what it means to work alongside your peers, coworking spaces have plenty to offer, and their potential is only growing.
Here’s how you can be a part of the coworking revolution as it spreads through the socially-distanced economy:
- Explore all the coworking options available to you, from virtual offices to hybrid models.
- Engage workers in discussions about their professional needs, especially as many transition to a hybrid style of work.
- Invest in ways to better support workers through coworking options.
Mental and physical health are big concerns for all workers these days. Fortunately, coworking environments have many strengths when it comes to providing a healthy option to working with others in a socially-distanced age.
Start by evaluating your immediate needs, then engage your colleagues in a helpful discussion in which they can address their particular working challenges. Once each person’s needs are on the table, teams can decide whether coworking is the best solution moving forward.
The future of coworking is simply waiting to be embraced as businesses look to return to in-person work. Through virtual offices, coworking access passes, and hybrid workspaces, teams can adjust to a new style of work that hones in on a healthier workforce.