4 Things to Look For When Going Back to Coworking Spaces
Updated: Jun 25, 2021
This is an article “4 Things to Look For When Going Back to Coworking Spaces” by Marc Primo
Last year’s coronavirus pandemic disrupted many aspects of our lives, especially how we work. Just as the prevalence of coworking spaces around the world are making its mark in the rental space industry, COVID-19 came and shuttered doors for work desks, remote equipment access, and-- along with them--opportunities to collaborate with like-minded professionals.
Now that more than half of adult Americans have been vaccinated and businesses are slowly inching their way to welcome back customers, coworking spaces are getting ready for an unprecedented rebound in clients, profits, and a prominence that tells us remote work won’t be going anywhere soon.
Bracing for the influx
From what we’ve learned from the pandemic, social distancing and mask-wearing protocols aren’t about to go away just yet; but neither is working in remote places. With more companies discovering the flexibility and increased productivity that telecommuting can give employees, large tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have announced how they will retain ‘work at home’ policies even when infection policies have been relaxed globally. Many are reviewing their options or following suit as 30% of Americans say they’d want to continue working remotely according to a 2020 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study.
With this, coworking spaces are bracing themselves for an influx of clients as people still want to separate their personal life from work-–so long as they are not confined in cubicles and enclosed offices.
However, for digital marketers who have long enjoyed the comforts and conveniences of coworking spaces, there might still be a few reservations about going back into the community. Though most establishments can boast being a safe space even before the pandemic broke out, some changes and adjustments need to be enforced to ensure that proper health and safety is observed and enforced.
What to look for in co-working spaces post-pandemic
Most freelancers in the digital marketing industry know that the most important thing to look out for when shopping for the perfect coworking space is community potential. What type of crowds do the particular space attract? Are there possible opportunities for networking, collaboration, or job recommendations?
Before the pandemic, digital nomads into digital marketing flock to coworking spaces and meet graphic designers, writers, or advertising professionals they can break bread with and see if they can invest in online community offerings.
One particular 2019 study on how co-working spaces can increase productivity reported that 74% of professionals sharing spaces with others are more productive, while 86% operate larger businesses that enjoy opportunities for networking. That probably won’t change when we are all clear of COVID-19. Networking and collaborative opportunities will still thrive in coworking spaces, but it will boil down to who’s-who within your professional environment and what it makes available for you on and offline.
Services and amenities
Digital marketers looking for good coworking spaces should also have their eyes out for essential features that they can use for work, such as basics like coffee, office supplies, printing services, high-speed internet; and teleconferencing, to personal email access, data storage space, security, meeting rooms, and elite staff services.
Working remotely doesn’t mean you’ll cut yourself off from others whether online or in person, so having the same services and amenities that large offices have is still ideal for any professional. However, digital marketers may want to go into industry-specific coworking spaces that usually have tailor-made environments for their niche. Doing so can provide a more private and intimate atmosphere that encourages better collaboration among industry peers.
This aspect could have easily been included in the services and amenities section, though given the current health crisis, coworking spaces are doing more about keeping their premises clean and virus-free for their clients nowadays.
Moving forward, space owners should redesign their hubs so that clients feel safe in terms of spacing and sanitation while infection protocols are still in place. Making cleaning items available for client use and policies on hygiene and cleaning protocols should also be amended, according to post-pandemic standards. In other words, coworking spaces should strive hard to make their clients literally feel safe at home, while still being able to connect with other people.
With more flexible or adjusted floor plan layouts that promote safer spaces, better indoor ventilation systems, natural lighting, al fresco or garden desk options, or even wellness and health areas, post-pandemic coworking spaces can create an innovative shift to how people approach work while taking into account everything we’ve learned from working at home amidst a widespread health crisis outside.
There are various types of coworking spaces available everywhere today. From high-end spaces to more open and conventional environments, rates will vary and knowing what you really need for work pretty much determines how much you should spend on monthly or annual rates.
Of course, being associated with a high-end coworking space that exudes professional credibility, complete with secretarial and concierge services, can do so much for your brand but could burn a hole in your pocket. These types of spaces often require memberships with benefits and a full-service menu that distinguishes themselves from other coworking spaces.
However, if you are simply content with accessibility and a decent working environment, you can save more money with flexible desk plans and pay-as-you-go services from private, shared, or bare bones workspaces.
Easing back into safer spaces
There are some hints that a larger percentage of companies will be looking to extend their headquarters to coworking spaces and cut costs on office rentals and utility expenses. 67% of business respondents in a recent study revealed that they have already established workplace mobility initiatives and flexible working spaces into their operational strategies. Shifting to such arrangements can create more inclusivity and diversity among employees and promote socialization in a more relaxed and open working environment. There would certainly be lesser stress and more productivity, proven by previous studies on coworking spaces.
Regardless of what coworking space you choose, keeping in mind that things have changed due to the pandemic may ease you back into in-person collaboration with other people. Stay respectful of their opinions, be open-minded, and practice personal hygiene to get along well with the people you work with. You never know–-more opportunities just might be headed your way if you pick the right coworking space to sign-up with.