Like most businesses, we at CoWork Me have had to make changes to the way we operate to see a future beyond Covid-19. This pandemic encouraged us to assess the coworking industry, reinvent office standards, and predict how our office will look post COVID-19.
There is uncertainty around how the future might look, but, we know that it’s important to keep evolving and moving forward.
At CoWork Me, we understand that changes will need to be made to abide by social distancing measures. Yet, we will continue to make sure that our community continues to thrive whilst we do so.
We have been thrown into the unknown, where enforced isolation has now become the norm. For many, this has led to loneliness and disconnectedness which in a time of fear can be devastating. This means that coworking communities such as ours will need to be more connected than ever before.
So what do we need to do?
Coworking has been around for a long time. But the need for serviced offices didn’t quite arise until after the last GFC. This was a time when people were forced to find work, start their own business and freelance- all from their home office.
This is something that we are seeing repeated, except back in 2008 we weren’t forced into an isolation period.
We’ve been in isolation for a little while now. I guess it’s pretty safe to say that the honeymoon period of working from home is over.
Right now, there is a significant lack of human interaction (or community). All non- essential activities were being canceled or postponed and meetings are all done via zoom. Although we can still head to our local cafe for a takeaway coffee, normality is far from reach.
The same goes for office space. Once we are given the green light to return to our workspaces, changes will need to occur. This will ensure that we are creating COVID-safe environments.
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 this quarantine period has dealt a blow to the original coworking model. This is why there are certain steps that will be undertaken to ensure a safe and COVID-friendly workspace for people returning to work.
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 at our office space. We are also in the process of restructuring the layout of our open plan desk area to allow for physical distancing. This will all be done to adhere to the SafeWork Australia Guidelines as well as our COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan.
Flexible Office Space and what that means?
“Flexible Office Space” is the umbrella term for individual offices coupled with open-plan spaces. These spaces are rented out on short-term deals, instead of longer leases.
Throughout the pandemic, businesses have had to make adjustments. More importantly, they have had to reevaluate their office environments. With most Victorians working remotely, businesses have learned that they don’t need to lock into long-term commercial leases.
Companies are now able to trust their employees to complete their work from home. This has shown organisations that they don’t need a large office space in the city. That way they can spread themselves around and work remotely in spaces close to them or in-office hubs around Melbourne. Yes, working from home has become the new norm, but it’s human nature to have interactions with others. This is why flexible workspaces like CoWork Me, will become the alternative to working from home.
The Concept of Community:
The community component of CoWork Me is at the very core of our business. We aim to bring people together and this is done through community events.
When Covid-19 first hit, our initial thought was about how our community was going to survive and thrive during this pandemic. In the early stages of the shutdown, our building was quiet, yet, online our community was loud. With virtual events, lunch and learns, happy hours, podcast clubs, and online personal training. Our community was interacting more than ever.
Here at CoWork Me, we have seen the rise in demand for a serviced office space. This allows members to keep their private office as well as engage in the community part of coworking.
During the course of the pandemic, Covid-19 disconnected the office. But, once people return to work, there will be a significant need for human connection as well as a feeling of belonging somewhere. This is where a place like CoWork Me will fill that void due to our focus on this aspect.
This pandemic has changed the way we interact forever, and it may be impossible to recover life as we once knew it. Yet, we can all work together to create a stronger sense of community when we begin the new normal and work.