Along with a loss of life, the pandemic has been a drag for the businesses. According to MSME ministry data, India saw a 46% decline in business volume during the 2020 lockdown and an 11% decline in the 2021 lockdown. Manufacturing, tourism, transportation – businesses in every field have been affected.
With lockdown restrictions removed, offices are slowly reopening but the challenge today is to find a way to ride over the losses of the last two years. Now that it’s been proved that employees can be productive even when they’re working remotely, independent offices are appearing to be a luxury. Instead, many businesses are looking at co-working spaces, as post-pandemic office alternatives and considering unpredictable future.
There’s a strong co-working spaces future post-pandemic. As industries recover from the COVID-19 crisis, co-working spaces are emerging as a key enabler. Here are a few reasons.
The past two years have proved that remote working can be just as productive as working from an office but, at the same time, it has its drawbacks too. So, it’s safe to say that neither will companies continue with a fully remote working model nor will they return completely to the traditional office model.
The global pandemic and hybrid offices have a close relationship. Companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and many others have already begun adopting a hybrid working model. Depending on what they’re working on, employees can split their time between working remotely and working in the office.
Rather than work from home, coworking spaces are a great choice for the days of the week when they’re working remotely. These spaces maintain an atmosphere similar to the office and minimize distractions. There are other people working alongside. Combined, these advantages push up productivity and keep morale higher.
As businesses look for ways to reduce office related expenses, the scales lean in favour of Coworking spaces. Here, the rental paid for the week or month is inclusive of all operational costs. There’s no worrying about electricity bills, no planning for HVAC systems maintenance, no housekeeping to oversee, no ordering of coffee & tea and no need to worry about office security etc.
Most Coworking spaces offer all the basic infrastructure – high-speed internet, printers and scanners, a kitchenette, meeting and conference rooms, parking etc. Of course, when you’re looking for a space for your team, you need to check what facilities are included in the base price and what attracts an additional fee.
One of the reasons for the connection between a coworking space and pandemic recovery is that it is more employee-friendly as compared to a single office for everyone. By choosing a coworking space around residential neighbourhoods, you can reduce the commute your employees need to make on a daily basis. This could mean saving of 2-3 hours per day. This time can be spend with friends or doing yoga or to read a book as desired.
It’s important to note that there have been considerable Coworking spaces revamping during Covid– desks have been spaced out, stricter sanitization protocols have been put in place, and so on. In the current scenario, this makes them more comfortable about getting back to the 9 to 5 routine. It offers opportunities for interaction with others that helps combat the feeling of isolation associated with remote working.
All these factors combined make employees feel prioritized and, in turn, makes them loyal to the company. This lowers the company attrition rate and also builds a stronger brand value.
As we enter the post-pandemic world, companies are looking at expanding their teams. Choosing Coworking spaces and decentralizing the office – expands the audience for recruiters and lets them consider not just local talent but also people who can’t travel to the office every day.
For example, if a person living in Noida fits a position perfectly but your office is in Saket, he/she could be brought onto the team and could work from a Co-working space. He/she is happy to join as the commute is less and your team gets the expertise it requires.
It takes a community to overcome challenges. Working in a coworking environment opens many doors for networking. Coworking spaces attract people from all industries, freelancers, start-ups, well-established companies and experienced mentors. A chance encounter and a conversation at the coffee machine may give you new ideas for marketing a product.
There will also be plenty of opportunities to network at after-work events and workshops. You may develop relationships with people from other companies that lead to opportunities for cross-branding and collaborative projects. This is especially beneficial for small businesses.
The lockdowns have ended and remaining restrictions will gradually all be lifted but unfortunately, life won’t return to what it was pre-pandemic. Businesses that can adapt to the new world will be the ones to survive. It’s not just about having a great product, companies need to find a way to minimize their operational costs while maintaining a strong brand image and keeping their employees comfortable. Coworking has the answers to many of these challenges.
(The author is Founder & CEO, The Office Pass(TOP). Views are personal)
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