Coworking spaces provide many benefits, but did you know it can help build corporate sustainability as well? Read more below for helpful details and information you’ll need to know for business growth.
The definition of corporate sustainability has altered contemporaneously to the coronavirus. A sustainable business must not only live in harmony with its environment, reduce its impact on climate, and ensure a balance between increasing stakeholder value and upholding critical social, cultural, and ethical standards, but also find a way to minimize the risks associated with continuing to do business during an ongoing pandemic. We are in uncharted waters, facing a challenge with no parallel in living memory.
The impact of this virus is not to be understated. Not only have lockdown measures harshly affected the economy, but the virus itself has impacted millions of lives through death, illness, grief, and hardship.
For every death, there are dozens of survivors whose lives have been made more difficult by COVID. No ethical nor responsible company would seek to illegitimatize the threat the virus continues to pose.
How the Corporate World is Coping
Nevertheless, we must find ways to continue to function and provide for one another. And many have, especially by way of remote solutions. Work-from-home policies have been changed overnight because of this pandemic. More Americans are working from home than in any other period in modern history. This unprecedented change has not come without its fair share of challenges and struggles. In addition, the many lessons learned from an imperfect and sudden transition.
With time, we have also come to see the limits of remote work. We realize that many of the productivity gains made during the early weeks of the pandemic were at the cost of sanity and work-life balance, with terrible aftereffects. We are social creatures, and remote work solutions made possible only through forced and continued isolation breed burnouts and anxiety.
People need to come back to work – but they need to do so slowly, sensibly, safely, and without endangering themselves and others. Careful hygiene protocols, strict social distancing measures, dedensification through coworking, and a progressive blend of remote and face-to-face solutions will all play their part in making this return possible.
COVID-19 Has Ushered in a Remote World
There’s no denying that the impact of the coronavirus on how we approach and involve remote work in our businesses will far outlast the virus itself. Some companies have vowed to continue implementing remote work policies for over a year, while others are switching to remote work “forever.”
This brave new remote world isn’t without its drawbacks. The sudden and unceremonious shift towards remote work has negatively impacted thousands of people, paving the way for issues related to isolation, constant home-related interruptions, and connectivity issues.
Make no mistake – there are many people who feel far more comfortable conducting most of their work from home, while remaining productive and feeling far more in-charge of their lives.
But there are far more people who haven’t made the most graceful transition, and who dearly miss working in an office environment where they can seamlessly communicate and collaborate with coworkers, and save themselves the hurdles of online communication.
A Remote World is Not Sustainable
There is no perfect replacement for face-to-face coworking – even when everything goes right, and connectivity issues or user-related errors aren’t leading to missed meetings or wasted hours. There’s still a lot that goes lost when relying on virtual tools to collaborate and communicate.
It’s much easier to onboard a new hire in the office than over Zoom. And it’s still much better to leave a lasting impression on a client during a physical meeting than over the phone.
When working together, there’s no replacement to a well-maintained and productive office environment. Some have turned to large-scale “work gym” Zoom calls to get the feeling of being in a room with other people.
Of course, the challenge there is obvious – how can we return to the office in any meaningful capacity without risking a violation of social distancing rules?
Keeping one’s distance is still the most effective way to minimize the spread of the virus. In addition to frequent handwashing, masks, keeping surfaces sanitized, and practicing good sneezing and coughing etiquette.
Any company that wants to bring at least some of its workforce back into the office must ensure that there’s never more than a few people in any given room at once.
However, there is a way to ensure a de-densified office without buying more office space. That is by leveraging coworking spaces.
The Role of Coworking in a New Normal
The coworking industry was slated to grow extensively in the next few years before the pandemic hit. Yet, COVID has forced many coworking spaces to shift gears and focus on making their spaces safer for companies looking for short-term leases, flexibility, and a well-maintained office. This includes offering private rooms and regular cleaning crews.
Coworking spaces are emerging as an important partner to both small and large enterprises looking to get more people back into the office.
Rather than crowd a company’s headquarters, companies can elect to work with nearby coworking spaces to reserve space for a few of their workers in key areas around the country. This includes setting up a hub-and-spoke network of satellite teams working independently, yet in coordination with one another, helping workers come back into an office environment without endangering them.
Furthermore, coworking spaces enable workers to avoid excessive commutes by choosing coworking spaces that are located closer to where they live. So even workers without a car of their own can reasonably and safely walk or pedal to where they need to be, without having to work solely from home.
Those who feel most comfortable remaining remote can choose to do so. While those that thrive best in an office environment can now opt to work in one via coworking.
The Ethos of Flexibility
Coworking spaces will play a role in a “new normal” dominated by choice – where employees are demanding more choices than ever, so they can ultimately work from wherever they’re most comfortable and productive.
Coworking spaces also allow companies to reap the benefits of bringing workers back into the office without endangering them or breaking social distancing rules. Meanwhile, those that continue to feel most comfortable working at home can continue to do so.
As we’re continuing to head towards an uncertain future, flexibility will continue to be the key to staying afloat and remaining successful.