COVID-19 turned our homes into the pub, the school, the gym, and the office, it was an experiment like no other and has left many lingering questions. We are more hygienic and budget-conscious than ever, this has caused business owners and employees to decide whether or not they want to return to their big commercial office buildings or continue to stay at home. Whatever the answer may be, the future of offices within the CBD is looking bleak.
Some companies have been working from home since the beginning of the Pandemic, dating back to March. This resulted in employees adapting to a new lifestyle that many have become accustomed to. Companies are noticing increased levels of productivity, accountability, and more importantly flexibility, something that has been encouraged by mental health advocates. However, working from home and interacting with coworkers via zoom can be quite isolating. Due to this, coworking spaces without long-term leases are expecting to benefit from the shift to flexible working arrangements.
Here at CoWork Me, we noticed the need for social interaction once restrictions loosened in November. Not only were we getting new inquires, existing members were in immediate contact to find out if they were able to return to the office. The most common reason for walking through the CoWork Me door was for a change of scenery and conversation with other coworkers. However, people are not only interested in a new and different environment to work from, they are looking for a place that will satisfy budget requirements and is COVID- Safe.
WHAT IS A COVID-SAFE WORKSPACE?
The Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for everyone. The restrictions on social distancing during the course of the quarantine period dealt a blow to the original coworking model. This is why certain steps have been undertaken to ensure a safe and COVID-friendly workspace for people returning to CoWork Me.
The enforced social distancing and cleaning measures have increased in high traffic areas. This has encouraged our members to adhere to the rules. We have hand sanitizer readily available for our members to use as well as ample facilities in our bathrooms. This has helped us manage the risk of exposure to Covid-19 in our office space. This will all be done to adhere to the SafeWork Australia Guidelines as well as our COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan.
What to expect in 2021?
As we enter the final days of what has been an exhausting and interesting year, we are beginning to prepare ourselves for what we expect to be our best year. The coworking industry is hopeful for a full recovery with companies looking to downsize and spread themselves out over Melbourne. We are already seeing inquiries from companies who are wanting to develop hubs around the city, rather than having a large commercial space to house their entire workforce. Why are hubs going to be the future? The answer is flexibility.
2020 saw us adapting to a new way of working and living. Although we don’t want to take everything from this year into the next, we have learned the benefits of flexibility and this will be carried over.