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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!