Flexible Workspaces During COVID-19 Restrictions

One business solution that addressed the need to rework working arrangements during the height of the global pandemic was coworking spaces.

Coworking spaces have embraced flexibility as one of their core traits; their short-term leases and accessibility provide business owners the ability to take better care of their employees while saving money. Businesses in coworking spaces can say goodbye to the days of long commutes, high rents and second-rate facilities. Satellite offices and the option to work remotely a few times a week have really brought life to a lot of companies that didn’t previously have the resources to adapt to working from home.

When COVID-19 hit, employees were suddenly forced to work from home, often without access to the high-quality resources they were used to in a traditional office. 

It wasn’t long before frustrations set in for business owners and staff alike. As video calls took over in-person meetings, people were pushed out or images frozen due to poor connections. The infrastructure that employees needed were all back in the workspace, gathering dust, and keeping the team from optimising their performance. Couple that with the distractions of being at home, the constant barking of the neighbour’s dogs, and the chaos of having to deal with noisy families and you face a dip in productivity and difficulty aligning. 

As soon as lockdowns lifted, coworking spaces showed their flexibility again, striving to make the hybrid work model adapt to the constantly evolving business landscape. Even with new restrictions, they’re making waves by expanding business resources and providing flexible working schedules. Coworking spaces are a great response to the pandemic and have always been a good option for flexibility.

How has COVID-19 impacted the workplace?

Traditional workplaces faced a drastic shift; from clocking in at the office to suddenly having to work from home, distractions and all. Employees found themselves short of the infrastructure and equipment needed to turn in quality work. This resulted in some businesses slowing down significantly or stopping altogether. 

Many staff had to take on extra work and put in more hours in the work-from-home environment in order to prove they could be trusted to work effectively unsupervised. As a result employee wellbeing suffered. While many found themselves to be productive in the beginning, their happiness at work slowly declined as the fatigue of the pandemic got to them. 

Employees’ mental health took a big hit, especially those who relied on the office for social stimulation. In a survey of Australian employees, 87% have reported a significant change in their mental health. Employees have become sluggish and worn out, affecting how they work. 

The longer COVID-19 and lockdowns persisted, the more worker resilience wore off. Employees were exhausted and needed a break from working remotely. The distractions and lack of correct equipment were taking a toll. 2020 changed workspaces and employee engagement, pushing businesses owners to find a better long-term solution, something that would bring their staff together without having to rely on traditional offices.

Why is flexibility important for work? 

Flexibility in workplaces is now more important than ever. The business world isn’t the same as it used to be, it has to change and look forward in order to survive. Companies can’t just go back to how they were handling their employees before COVID, the pandemic has caused a shift in how people work and how offices and traditional workplaces should operate. 

Like it or not, rigid systems are, for many companies, a thing of the past. Business owners and management teams have realised that most remote working and video calls are just as effective as meeting in person, if not more so. With coworking spaces and flexibility, there are more options for employees to collaborate and still work together even while they’re far apart. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, people who work in coworking spaces tend to enjoy work more because they don’t have to compound their stress with being stuck in traffic with the morning work rush or difficult commutes. They’re also surrounded by like-minded individuals who are ready to collaborate. Hybrid working is also a great plus since clock-in times can be modified and remote working is an option.

5 reasons coworking spaces are a good, flexible option

Coworking spaces are a convenient option for many companies looking for more flexibility because of how customisable their schedules and spaces are. Here are five major reasons why coworking spaces were a top pick for businesses during the pandemic:

5 reasons coworking spaces are a good, flexible option

Coworking spaces are a convenient option for many companies looking for more flexibility because of how customisable their schedules and spaces are. Here are five major reasons why coworking spaces were a top pick for businesses during the pandemic:

1. Adapting to having different office locations

Accessibility is important to employees. No one wants to sit through the stress of long commutes, waiting to get to work and eating into their precious time. Coworking spaces offer multiple locations to choose from, allowing employees to choose one that is convenient for them to get to. 

Having more than one office location can help employees and business owners work with more flexibility.

flexible coworking spaces

2. Not having to commit to a long-term lease 

Short-term leases are more affordable and practical. The flexibility of pay-as-you-go allows you to find your feet, test what the options are and find the right fit for your business needs. It also comes in handy in case of lockdowns being reinstated. Long-term leases can cost a lot and will be a waste of budget if no one is able to access the office. 

With coworking spaces, monthly leases are the norm (i.e. monthly, three months or six months) and can help you save money in the long run since you’re only spending money for the time you and your employees are able to clock in.

3. You can upgrade and downgrade your space as you scale your business

If your business is in a growth stage or your needs are changing, coworking spaces are flexible enough to work with you. You can choose to upgrade your space or make use of more rooms depending on how big your team is getting and how many projects you have on the go. If you’re downsizing and don’t need to take up as much space, maybe you just need a few rooms or a meeting zone, you can downgrade and adjust to a smaller space as needed.

4. Commuting differences/changes

Having the flexibility to choose from several coworking spaces all under the same ownership is a big help to employees who might have had to commute long distances in the past. This is especially true if you have some staff who typically work interstate. With flexible workspace locations, your staff no longer have to make long journeys to work giving them more energy, more personal time and making their workday more enjoyable.

5. Providing satellite offices for bigger businesses/corporations

Once a company is big enough, or they’re a full-fledged corporation, it’s usual to have branches, or satellite offices that are easier to access compared to the main office building. Bringing these employees together or connecting with the management staff at each of these sites regularly is important, but it’s not always easy to find a space to do that comfortably, especially when lockdowns are in place. Even though you might be large enough to have satellite offices, you might not be thrilled to hunt out the right properties and pay additional leases.

Coworking spaces were a great solution for expanding your workforce, especially during COVID-19 restrictions because they remained accessible while other buildings were told to shut down. Even after the threat of lockdowns has largely passed, this flexibility continues to make coworking spaces an affordable and attainable option for business owners who want or need their staff to gather for collaboration or break from working from home, even if it’s only a few days a week, especially as they don’t have the rigidity or the hefty price tag of a traditional office.

If you’re considering making a coworking space part of your flexible work arrangement, especially with unexpected situations still on the horizon, @workspaces is a great option. 

 

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