Office Space, WFH, Hybrid: What’s the best “place”?

Office Space, WFH, Hybrid: What’s the best “place”?

by Catherine Harrison

Place /plās/ : a portion of space available or designated for or being used by someone.

The modern workplace has shifted and shaped over the past 20 years – with the pandemic accelerating change even more. Until recently, we had office-goers or gig-economy freelancers, home-office entrepreneurs or corporate rush-hour types. COVID-19 threw all that into a blender and tilted how, when, and where we work, creating new confabulations and opportunities. The “place” where we work has evolved immensely.

Even pre-COVID, work had been shifting. Offices had been morphing from cubicles to open shared spaces, creating nomadic work pods and enabling ‘working from home,’ and for traveling professionals, they could ‘work from anywhere. 

Now, as we begin 2022, all this is up for grabs, inviting new iterations to truly reimagine what it means to work and where we can do it best. 

Right now, leaders are determining what the new work world will look like for our teams: those administrative and professional workers who go (or used to go) to the office to get work done. Our choices seem to be: all-office, all-remote, or a hybrid of the two. But coworking spaces are emerging as an important option too. Let’s explore this new way to work. 

 

MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS 

Humans flourish with a balance of connection, quietude, positive energy, new ideas, development opportunities; a sense of both autonomy and inclusion; and a measure of predictability combined with flexibility. Where does this happen best? Although employees exist at either end of the spectrum – I need my office! I love working from home! – many do best with some time working from home combined with time around others at a work ‘place.’ 

The claustrophobic WFH “Groundhog Day feeling” has caused its share of mental health issues during the pandemic. Countless workers have reported feelings of loneliness, and increased stress that comes with blurred lines between work and home. 

Coworking spaces can help mitigate these issues. We know there are psychological benefits when work life is separated from home life. When solo work is balanced with teamwork. When in-person is balanced with virtual.  When we provide options and opportunities for an employee, their overall health and wellness improves, and we both reap sustainable benefits.

 

MORE CONVENIENCE; LESS COMMUTING

According to research carried out by Pauline Roussel, companies understand that “… coworking spaces can be a part of an office management strategy and a work strategy for their employees. It’s already started: certain companies, such as Spotify, give their employees a monthly coworking budget.” 

Successful coworking spaces offer beautiful surroundings, ergonomically friendly chairs, healthy food and drink options, printers, reliable free WIFI, mail service and concierge options, and enough space to blend solo work with open concept.

Imagine walking to work! Driving less than 15 minutes! Hopping on a local bus or riding your bike! Shorter commutes to a local coworking space can translate to valuable time and energy spent on high-quality work or improved work-life balance. Stress is reduced. Consider the employee who shares living space with others: they may lack privacy or a professional-looking environment for their video meetings. A coworking space offers these benefits, increasing both their efficiency and creativity now that they’ve been relieved of distractions like doorbells, dogs, and kiddies. 

Employers can now create teams in multiple locations at lower costs, with no long-term commitment. When Dialpad Inc. scaled, for example, they decided to use coworking spaces in lieu of satellite offices, allowing for greater versatility. Also, as travel restrictions lift, coworking spaces will appeal to out-of-town businesspeople needing temporary workplaces. 

 

INDIVIDUALS & COMMUNITIES WIN 

 Coworking also boosts local economies. Employees buy lunch, coffee, and even do their retail shopping closer to home. Imagine all the spending happening in your own neighbourhood, instead of the corporate office’s neighborhood, far from home?

Shared office space is also a great way of building up local relationships; people are more likely to network with people from other companies and swap ideas. It reminds me of the Village Square: different proprietors working separately but together. It also requires leaders to think creatively about manifesting and cultivating a corporate culture where employees feel connected and aligned with their company of employment while they mingle with others in a coworking space. 

Whether you be a sole proprietor, run a small business or multinational corporation, consider how a coworking spacemight be a meaningful part of your ‘workplace’ strategy. It will likely help your bottom line, and more importantly, support the psychological and physiological wellbeing of your employees. A true win–win.

If you’d like to learn more about coworking, whether a flexible hot desk or a private office, we would love to show you around ACE Coworking.

Book a tour here.

ALSO…

You’re invited you to join us at our next ACE Book Talk on Wednesday, February 23 from 8:45–9:30am. We will be discussing Three Colors, Twelve Notes, by our guest blogger, Catherine Harrison. This insightful read is a memoir and a guidebook for the curious and those who want to learn how to cultivate a reflective mindset. Email us at info@acecoworking.ca if you’d like to reserve a spot.

If you’d like to get more inspiration and education from the staff and partners of ACE Coworking, sign up for our monthly newsletter. You’ll also stay up to date on the events we run and the amazing promotions we often offer!

Tech Entrepreneurs Compete at Hi5

Tech Entrepreneurs Compete at Hi5

ACE Coworking is excited to partner with HALTECH to support local tech innovators through the 5th Annual Hi5 pitch competition. Learn more here… 

ABOUT HALTECH

Halton’s Regional Innovation Centre, HALTECH, formed a close alliance with us at ACE Coworking ever since we first opened our doors in 2018. We’ve partnered with them to present several educational workshops and seminars at our own space. In addition, our members – especially those who work in tech – have benefitted from the many resources and events provided by Haltech at their Burlington-based HQ. It has been a great symbiotic friendship!

Never heard of HALTECH? If you live in Halton and work in technology, you must check them out!

Haltech’s staff and team of experienced advisors work hard to help advance local tech-based innovators in businesses of every size – from start-ups to global corporations. They offer free business advisory services, learning workshops on entrepreneurship and commercialization, assistance in forging strategic connections, and supports for corporate innovation programs.

Hi5’s PITCH COMPETITION

For the past five years, Haltech has hosted the Hi5 Pitch Competition – this year ACE is proud to partner with them to bring this exciting event to life! Hi5 features five of Haltech’s most promising clients: each is given five minutes to pitch for a winning prize of $5,000. In addition the winner will receive $1200-worth of access to ACE Coworking’s meeting space.

The competition is a valuable opportunity for local tech start-ups to generate awareness about their projects, while building the vital skills needed to present in front of an audience and investors.

HOW TO REGISTER

The pitch event takes place on Thursday, November 25 from 3–5pm, and will be held in a virtual format. More information and registration here. Plan to arrive early for open networking and a chance to meet the Hi5 contestants.

ICYMI: 10TH ANNIVERSARY

In July, Haltech celebrated their tenth anniversary! We were delighted to be part of the event which commemorated a decade of the organization’s commitment to local innovators. If you’d like to learn more about Haltech, this anniversary video gives an overview of how they’ve influenced and supported industry leaders across the local ecosystem. 

 

 

If you’d like to get more inspiration and education from the staff and partners of ACE Coworking, sign up for our monthly newsletter. You’ll also stay up to date on the events we run and the amazing promotions we often offer!

Why We’re Excited About the Future, and the Future of Work

Why We’re Excited About the Future, and the Future of Work

by Mark Fornasiero

Welcome to post #1 of our ACE Coworking blog! We’re excited to be sharing insights for your business and personal growth here. We are going to discuss a wide array of topics. Although we’re not sure exactly where this will take us, we look forward to giving a platform to our community so that they can share their knowledge, skills and insights. Let’s go!

Image by Sam Fornasiero

Why We’re Excited About the Future, and the Future of Work

We know there’s been a lot of hardship experienced out there since the onset of the pandemic. That pain is real. We acknowledge it, and we were not immune to it either. BUT, there is so much to be excited about for the future of business growth, especially in our industry. We are all in the midst of embracing new ways to work, figuring out how to fit it into our unique lives and situations. The future will almost certainly involve more coworking, collaboration, and community. The trends were heading this way before COVID showed up anyway; the virus just hit the accelerator pedal. And in a big way!

Coworking is on pace to grow another 15% in 2020 (lower than the 25% of the previous few years) and will continue to make its way into the suburbs and cities outside major metropolitan centres. Today there are two million people working in coworking spaces globally. That’s a tiny fraction of the working population. With the trend pointing to that number growing to more than 5 million by 2024, you can see why we’re so excited about the future.

More than three quarters of coworking operators are looking to add space and expand this year. That is pretty amazing. The average coworking space is very similar to ACE: about 7,000 square feet and 85 members. That means lots of room for independent owner-operated coworking spaces that focus on building a community and sense of belonging.

In the post-COVID world, coworking consumers will be looking for more private offices and flexibility in membership terms. We anticipate more investment and innovation in this sector from space owners and operators.

This is great news if you are a coworking space owner/operator. But, what if you’re not? No matter what field you’re in, remember this: huge shifts like the one we are experiencing always create as much opportunity as they do mayhem. The trick is to slow down, turn off the noise machine, and make balanced assessment of your situation. You may have to tweak your business or do a major overhaul. Doing nothing is probably not an option. But there are definitely opportunities out there for you to grow and change your business or career.

You know, COVID might be the perfect excuse you need to make that big change you’ve always thought about. Now there’s something to get excited about!

Mark Fornasiero is the co-founder of ACE Coworking and an independent consultant specializing in growth-and-exit strategies for privately-held enterprises. Mark also provides professional consulting to entrepreneurs looking to launch and operate their own independent coworking spaces.