How Coworking Centers Can Be Part of the New Normal
As I mentioned in my last blog post, the workforce is beginning to transition out of the strictest Shelter-In-Place edicts that sent everyone home 8 months ago. That was a sudden and jarring event, where many workers and employers scrambled to cobble together a Work-From-Home plan. It was not pretty at times, but we managed to survive – and sometimes even thrive.
The re-opening of society is a much more gradual process, which lends itself to mindfulness – we can learn from this social experiment, incorporating the good and weeding out the not-so-good of everyday work life. Workers and employers have a unique opportunity to create a new, more desirable everyday work experience.
First, let’s clarify terms. WFH, or Work From Home, usually means a worker performs her work in her home environment, with the support of technology. During the COVID experience, most WFH workers were first-timers at doing it full-time, and predictably some mistakes were made. For the most part, workers really liked the flexibility and the lack of commute that came with WFH. Employers were pleased to find that productivity did not suffer, and in fact actually increased in certain places (usually in those companies that already had some experience on the WFH bandwagon).
Another concept is WFA, or Work From Anywhere, which means a worker can perform her work from various places, not tethered to a traditional headquarters building, or even in the same geographical location. (We will all be hearing more about this concept, no doubt.) For the purpose of this article, I will use WFA to refer to the ability to work successfully from home, or from the traditional office headquarters, or from coworking centers.
WHY COWORKING CENTERS?
There are many different types of coworking centers, and those with wide-open collaborative spaces might not be the best bet at the moment, while COVID still dictates caution and safety around close personal contact. However, office-centric providers like Office Evolution (I own the franchise in Walnut Creek and soon in Concord) have developed a suburban strategy, closer to where workers live. So, a worker can easily use a day office on an as-needed basis, whether that's a full-time Monday-Friday gig or for just a few days per week for important Zoom meetings, presentations, or video conferences. Either way, he can still be home for lunch!
Flexibility is the mantra at coworking centers. You pick out the options that you need right now and use them as long as you need. Changing services is quick and easy, and when you need more services you can easily add them on. (When you’re in an Office Evolution center, we help you assess your usage of our services and make suggestions to save you money and create a better fit for you.)
This flexibility will be crucial as businesses bring employees back over the next several months. Since it looks like we will be dealing with COVID-related quarantining for a while, businesses may stagger different groups of employees in their offices, either by time of day or day of the week. Collaboration is also a key need for nearly every organization, and coworking centers can accommodate team meetings to allow for that much-needed work to happen. (At Office Evolution, members can even make their own bookings for space online 24/7 for ease of scheduling).
Unlike a traditional office, coworking spaces include members who work for a range of different companies, ventures, and projects. A 2015 study by Harvard researchers found that because coworking members have little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in. Working among people doing different kinds of work can also make your own work identity stronger, because you are frequently given the opportunity to describe what you do.
Coworking centers work hard to create community with casual socializing, planned events like member breakfasts and happy hours, and lunch-and-learns, among other events. In my center, we feature a different member each month and showcase their information on a video screen in our reception area. We also actively work to connect them with valuable partners. Of course, this is all done following the member’s lead – the option to engage is always on their terms. There are no forced birthday party or baby shower obligations happening!
About Office Evolution Walnut Creek
At Office Evolution Walnut Creek, we provide virtual office, coworking, and private office solutions at our shared office center. We offer meeting rooms, offices for rent, hot desking in a shared workspace coworking lounge, a shared reception, a business address, and virtual receptionist services. We have many options and price points, and all terms are flexible. Plus, you become part of a community of like-minded professionals.
Whether you live in Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Concord, and other communities nearby in Contra Costa County, choosing Office Evolution Walnut Creek will help you be more professional, productive, and profitable.
Written by: Dawn Lopshire
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Office Evolution has more than 70 locations open, 140 units sold in markets across the country and is poised for further growth as the demand for affordable and safe, workspace close-to-home continues to rise.