The world is changing and it is changing fast. The digital revolution is speeding up and companies must adapt very quickly. We are talking about digitalization. E-commerce, remote work, social media, digital marketing, cloud, online communication and management, etc.
People have been sent to work from home during this Covid-19 pandemic and mostly found benefits in this home-office set-up. Remote work has become THE thing for almost everyone. What is going to happen once the lockdown is lifted and the deescalation completed? Will employees that have had the taste of this remote work life want to go back to their central offices? Will this become the new rise of coworking spaces?
According to a report conducted by Coworking Insights, about how first-time remote workers feel about this new work experience, people have generally found benefits in home-office and remote work. More than 70% of the people that answered the survey declared that remote work had a positive impact on their private life (social life, family), on their finances (productivity, consumption, savings on food and transportation) and mental health (more than 77%). In the end, more than 50% of participants in the study said they’d like to pursue this remote work life-style.
One sure thing is that once the lockdown is completely lifted, there will be changes. Businesses are well aware of the complex situation and know that the way back to central offices will be complicated and not even necessary. Indeed, this forced remote work life has proven that it is possible to implement remote work even in traditional offices and employees are happy about it. More companies are considering the normalization of remote work in order to reduce the capacity of people working at the same time at the office, to respect social distancing and offer more flexibility to their employees. Huge companies such as Twitter announce they would allow their employees to work remotely “for ever” if they wish. Jennifer Christies, Twitter’s chief HR officer wrote on a blog: “If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen”.
This whole pandemic has created fear and incertitudes many of us never experienced in their life. The disease, fear of death, the economic crisis upfront, the uncertainty about the future
On a long term vision, the face of the work market will be changed forever. For now, we don’t have a lot of perspective yet because those changes are happening so fast. It is important to take into account the singularity of the situation where remote work came as an obligation and seemed to have worked for two months. Moving to a full remote work setup is not just to send people to work from home, it impacts all the management structure, job roles, workflow, mentorship, communication, etc. There are certain risks if remote work is not well implemented. The loss of company and team culture, a loss of productivity due to challenging collaboration processes. Other risks are related to privacy, information security and also mental health impact (loneliness, stress). Remote work can become the greatest benefit for both company and workers but needs to be structured, through strong communication processes, proper training of managers and employees and the use of professional online tools. Remote work does not only mean home-office but to be location-independent. Meaning that people can choose to work from home or from an office such as a coworking space. It is a good compromise, to find a place close to their home in order to separate professional and personal life, avoid public transportation and also avoid the risk of loneliness by integrating a community.
Concerning the flex spaces sector, the situation is also complicated right now. Because of the lockdown and the fear of infection, people have doubts and concerns about going back outside, this is why home-office is so appreciated right now. As a result, we are facing a hard reality, the imminent truth is that many small coworking spaces might disappear. As many other businesses, they are struggling because their space is closed, depending on their business model they are not able to invoice anything and still have a rent to pay, employees to maintain and might not have the treasury to handle this situation any longer. The restrictions during the reopening concerning capacity, events might take too long to allow those spaces to recover.
The number of remote workers will increase. From one side, the people that will start a freelancing career, startups and on the other side, a significant number of SME and bigger corporate companies will adapt their policy in terms of remote work. And for now, the studies are showing that those employees that were forced to start home-working during the lockdown are expressing the wish to continue to work remotely and become location-independent.
Remote workers will have to work somewhere. Indeed, home-office is not for everyone and for many reasons:
Coworking spaces offer this flexibility. A good workspace close to your house that allows remote workers to:
For companies, coworkings are also a very positive economical solution. Corporates and SMEs spend a tremendous amount of money in huge private offices, with a high cost of maintenance (rent, cleaning, bills). Coworking spaces and business centres will allow companies that are considering shifting to a permanent remote work set-up, to notably reduce their operational costs.
The outcomes of this crisis will certainly fasten the growth of the shared space sector in the future as the number of remote workers will increase and the demand for flexible spaces rise. The coworking world will now open and become part of SMEs and corporate companies’ structuration in terms of workspace for their employees. Coworking will become a good solution, offering benefits for both company and workers.