It’s true that working from home isn’t for everyone. But what’s the solution while still living in a pandemic? Spacious coworking offices is needed now more than ever. Read more below.
The shift towards remote work following the onset of the pandemic was unprecedented.
Although there had been a trend towards more liberal remote work policies for years, particularly in the tech industry, the coronavirus forced thousands of companies to ask millions of office workers to perform their daily tasks from home, whenever applicable.
Now that companies all over the world are beginning to gain confidence in the idea of returning to the office, many companies are considering a permanent change to the way they handle remote work going forward. And thousands of workers are embracing remote work as a new way to live.
But for many more employees, the return to the office is a godsend – provided it can be done safely. While the pandemic has shined light on the benefits of remote work, it has also exposed the weaknesses of what can happen when employees are forced to telecommute without preparation, and without choice.
Many of us still rely on the interpersonal dynamics of the office to develop a bond with our team members and managers. Many of us seek the physical boundary between family and work to separate the personal and the professional. But none of us want to bring the virus into our midst or play a role in its continued spread. Spacious coworking offices may play an important role here, albeit an unexpected one.
Adjusting to the Pandemic
COVID-19 is an illness that is transmittable through droplets in the air, and through physical contact. To help mitigate its spread, companies and governments have turned to strict social distancing rules. And the use of simple but effective methods to minimize transmission. This includes frequent handwashing and mask-wearing.
It goes without saying why preventing the spread of COVID is critical to ensure worker safety. Not only does the illness cause worker absenteeism, but its spread to anyone – including young and healthy employees – could potentially lead to the infection of someone at-risk for serious complications.
- Thorough screening of incoming and outgoing employees for symptoms.
- Frequent handwashing.
- Encouraged mask-wearing.
- PPE whenever the job calls for it (i.e. for the cleaning crew).
- Temporary barriers between desks and stations (plastic sheets), whenever private offices aren’t available.
- More trash receptacles for cleaning materials, masks, tissues, etc.
- Discourage sharing any equipment, from phones to notepads, pens, desks, and so on.
- Frequent cleaning of all personal and common spaces (from floors to desk surfaces, computers, keyboards, mice, door handles, stair railings, and more).
- Maintaining a safe distance at all times.
- Altering or improving in-office ventilation (largely through natural ventilation, and selectively through better filtering HVAC systems).
- And more.
Other adjustments may depend on local workplace requirements, and potential health hazards identified at work. Local and state resources exist to help businesses adjust their workplaces to meet minimum safety requirements.
But by far the greatest and most effective adjustment is the dedensification of the office, wherein companies are encouraged to minimize the amount of workers returning to the office in order to ensure that employees can maintain a safe distance at all times, and safely cooperate and do their work without coming into contact with one another.
Spacious coworking will play a vital role in giving companies the option to allow employees to return to work in a safe and controlled office environment, either within the company headquarters themselves, or in a coworking space acting as a satellite office.
As such, coworking spaces have been adjusting accordingly – making the necessary changes to accommodate businesses looking for additional office space for employees, without breaking social distancing rules.
Why Return to the Office?
Given that the pandemic is not at an end, some might question any attempts at returning to “normal”. But a return to the office does not constitute a return to old practices and habits.
While some employees are able to work remote on a long-term basis, others are not. It’s clear that the COVID-related effects of long-term remote work are beginning to rear their head in thousands of workers struggling to avoid stress-related problems with performance and mood.
A safe return to the office not only helps workers who cannot continue to function while isolated, but it also helps revitalize a struggling economy by employing more people in public transport, janitorial services, and much more.
With the right precautions and an emphasis on dedensification, companies can make a return to the office possible. And help workers who feel isolated seek an alternative to working from home for another six months or more.
Why Spacious Coworking Remains Invaluable
In the early days of the pandemic, coworking spaces took a hit as people were encouraged to stay at home, isolate, and avoid contact with one another.
But many coworking spaces have since pivoted to allow for a safe return to coworking, via roving cleaning crews, in-office rules for safety and sanitation, separated workstations, improved ventilation systems, an emphasis on social distancing and safe private offices, and more.
As companies are looking to help encourage workers to come back to work away from home, coworking spaces become an excellent and cost-effective alternative to leasing more office space.
It’s clear that the near future will include a shift towards supporting work-from-anywhere policies, emphasizing a de-densified office, and ensuring that workers have enough space and a visibly clean office to work from without fearing infection, and without fearing that they may be endangering their loved ones.
Coworking companies that have quickly made the shift towards a safety-oriented and pandemic-proof workspace will play an important role to help make these changes possible, allowing workers to re-engage with their team members and coworkers, and reap the multiple other benefits of working at a coworking space.