Co-working has been evolving even before the pandemic. So how will co-working take shape post-pandemic?
More importantly how will co-working fit into the future of work as workers return to office and also with the increasing adoption of hybrid work?
After being in the co-working office space sector for close to 10 years, I’ve seen it change immensely during that time. It started with a few early adopters and is now much more mainstream as a new way of working.
As the first glances of a post-pandemic world creep into view, one of the biggest questions remains around how we will all be working in the future. The pandemic forced many to work from home, who were confronted with a whole wave of both challenges and benefits. Undoubtedly, the world of work has been permanently changed, with flexible work arrangements now much more feasible.
It is quite clear by now that most companies will not be able to get their employees back at the office full time. Therefore hybrid work is likely the best compromise for both employers and employees.
How can companies implement hybrid work successfully?
Here are some tips for a smooth implementation.
It seems almost every leader and almost every organization are planning for the great return—getting people back to the office on a more regular basis. We know the future of work will be hybrid, with the vast majority of people working from both the office and from their homes. But beyond that, there is a lot of uncertainty and honestly, plenty of room for error.
It is time to reimagine the workplace as offices reopen. The role of the office is expected to change vastly post pandemic.
The 3 key areas that will see changes are health and workplace wellness; purposed and private spaces for focused work; and increasing role of the office for building culture.
LumiNola | E+ | Getty Images
Last spring, CNBC Make It asked workplace experts how the pandemic could change the future of work.
Brent Capron, the interior design director at architecture firm Perkins and Will’s New York studio, predicted workers would come back to the office on a hybrid schedule. They’d continue to do individual focused work from home and convene in office spaces redesigned as “elaborate conference centers” for large gatherings.
As more companies embrace the hybrid work model it also begs the question – what strategy should companies adopt to ensure a successful office reopening?
Companies across the world are thinking about reopening their office doors and welcoming their employees back. Too many, though, are adopting a “wait and see” strategy–that is, they’re planning to unlock their doors and wait to see which–and how many–employees show up. Companies that adopt this approach are setting themselves up for irreparable damage.
As offices reopen there is an on-going debate whether people will return to the office full time or continue to work remotely. Could there be another option that people can choose where to work from?
London WeWork South Bank. Image via WeWork
As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been much speculation and debate about whether we will return to our old habits of working in the office 5 days a week, or if working from home creates equal or greater productivity. However, many believe that the future of the workforce will largely be focused on a balance between in-person and in-office working, and a form of remote working, that summates into a new, hybrid model. But if you’re not at home, and you’re not working, then you must be somewhere else- exploring the true in-between of a public and a private space. Enter the concept of the “third” place, which is used to describe everything from coffee shops to banks, and even co-working spaces. If you’ve ever studied for an exam at a bookstore, or even dropped into an airport restaurant to catch up on some work, then you too, have visited a “third” place.
As companies dig into to the future state of work within their own organizations, numerous workplace models will be examined, including satellite offices; hub-and-spoke models; networks of smaller, lower-cost office spaces closer to employees’ homes, to name a few. At the same time, the home office market will also grow exponentially. In fact, we have already seen a handful of office furniture manufacturers pivot to direct-to-consumer marketplaces. Regardless of the model, we remain confident that design solutions will revolve around the employee experience, with a keen eye on flexibility and choice, technology, sustainability and wellbeing, inclusion, and diversity—all culminating into culture-driven environments.
When starting your search for office space, keep in mind that there are different models to choose from: traditional, third-space providers, flexible space rentals.
Flexibility has become a key consideration in the business world; when choosing your office space, keep flexibility at the top of your mind to ensure that your office space can grow with your business.
One of the main benefits of flexible space is that there are no hidden costs; you pay a monthly fee for rent, utilities, and maintenance.
Regardless of industry or company size, many organizations throughout the years have chosen to rent office space rather than lease or purchase real estate to build out their headquarters. For years, this has proven to be a beneficial approach to corporate real estate, but times are changing and companies worldwide are increasingly interested in flexible office options.
Technology including artificial intelligence will play an increasing role and driving transformation in the workplace especially AI will influence how we work in the future.
A wave of automation and artificial intelligence adoption by larger firms is expected start reshaping both who works in offices and what they are doing amid a widespread return to the office.
A 2020 survey by Deloitte found that 8 in 10 corporate effects had already implemented some form of robotic process automation, or RPA, a multibillion-dollar industry dedicated to automating repetitive tasks, increasing efficiency and decreasing expenses.