As we await the easing of the restrictions upon us in the third national lockdown, the rolling out of vaccinations provides a glimmer of hope that life may return to normal in the near future. The current roadmap out of lockdown suggests Working From Home will continue until June 21st, but nevertheless it is important to know what to expect when work does resume, and to mentally prepare ourselves to enter office life once again.
We have no doubt you are as keen as us for coworking spaces in London to open again — so let’s talk about how we’ll keep you safe when that happens.
With the stringent cleaning methods and social distancing in place, a great deal has been done to ensure coworking spaces are as safe as possible during the pandemic. Cleaning schedules are likely to remain amped-up for quite some time. Coworking offices have been rearranged to permit members to work while socially distanced; something that is far easier within modular coworking spaces than in traditional offices.
Hot Desking was an area of concern for many, however there are safety notices and reminders throughout all of our buildings with hand sanitisers at the hot desks, in the kitchenettes and bathrooms to improve safety. Disinfecting sprays and wipes are also available for members to use prior to starting work if they wish to.
Lastly, QR codes are provided throughout and members are asked to check in through the NHS COVID-19 app to place and inform others who may have come into contact with the same space as someone who has tested positive for COVID.
With COVID-compliant rules in place, the workspace is no more worrisome — and possibly even less risky — than shopping at your local supermarket.
The popularity of coworking remains, and it is predicted to continue into the future as companies explore more flexibility and working freedoms. One study suggests that employees are more likely to work for companies that offer flexibility, as opposed to those who offer a higher wage but without flexibility. Wellbeing and work-life balance will remain a priority going forwards, and coworking provides not only the flexibility but also a focus on wellbeing. In fact, it’s the very focus on wellbeing that results in improved productivity.
Employees are not the only ones who realise the benefits of flexible workspaces; company heads are also approaching coworking offices and arranging to house their staff at locations that are more convenient for the employees than a central office. It allows them to scale up and down without the associated costs; coworking also expands their sphere of influence and customer base without creating new offices in those locations. These benefits are achieved, as is improving flexibility for staff, their wellbeing and their satisfaction levels; all without having to change any office space or internal protocols. Coworking is, essentially, a tried and tested formula that works to the benefit of both employees and company owners.
Companies looking to downsize as a result of employees attending work for 2-3 days per week, can save a great deal through coworking; a coworking office can be booked to house 50 employees for a company with 100 employees, at no extra cost. These flexible rotation options allow companies big and small to avoid the high cost of renting under-utilised office space.
Some may prefer WFH, but as social animals it is expected that in the long-run the coworking model is a far healthier working model. The social benefits received from coworking include social contact, creative collaboration, and the forming of business connections and friendships that make the workplace a more enjoyable place to be.
The inspiring interior design and range of workspaces to suit a variety of different workstyles, from communal to private, further encourage the productivity of those who opt to cowork. This environment is a far cry from the average home office, and also offers business amenities such as professional printers, copiers and meeting rooms.
Both startups and Small and Medium Enterprises are evidently seeing the benefits of using coworking spaces to house their staff, and even themselves. The decrease in overheads is significant when compared to the cost of rent and the various other high bills they would otherwise be paying in a traditional office setting.
While coworking benefits both employers and employees, it is also a popular option among freelancers. Far superior to working in a coffee shop, not only is the coworking space purpose-built, it also offers professional networking opportunities and potential clients that are so vital for freelancers, and indeed startups, to gather.
Due to the demand for coworking that typically increases year on year, more coworking spaces and facilities are likely to be required to meet that demand. This may mean new coworking companies will emerge, or established coworking providers may increase their number of offices to cater to the demand.
This will likely mean that coworking companies will also seek to expand the number of locations they can offer their members to reduce commuting time for even more members. The resultant market will provide more options than ever for members to choose from, perhaps even expanding the services and facilities they currently offer.
The pandemic has shone a spotlight on our health. While we may have taken our health for granted before, either mental or physical, it has become our main focus for over a year — and will remain so until long after the pandemic subsides.
Our health and safety is of prime importance, and companies like us at Areaworks are continuously working towards making our coworking spaces as safe as we possibly can. We see this as a very important task, especially as we look forward to safely welcoming our members back after having spent over 3 months in national lockdown. Human socialisation has never seemed quite as important as it does now, but after three lockdowns, coworking spaces will provide a respite from isolation and a place of rejuvenation for many. Collaboration will come back into the mix and both creativity and productivity will flourish again.
Here at Areaworks, we do more than just employ a rigorous cleaning schedule; we have a range of rules and new policies that we have put in place to protect you. These rules and policies are clearly indicated on signage, and we take repeated risk assessments to ensure we are keeping the area as safe as possible for all our members.