The return to work and the benefits of coworking
As we enter the third year of the pandemic, employees’ attitudes and opinions towards the workplace have evolved and changed. Pre-pandemic office culture is likely to become redundant, and employees are expecting more flexibility, innovative workspaces, and greater incentives to come to the office. With the easing of restrictions, there has been a greater focus on employee wellbeing, collaboration and networking. This article reviews the benefits of coworking and why demand is growing for coworking spaces.
Coworking allows companies and freelancers alike to share facilities and infrastructure, which cuts down on costs and allows for convenience. Particularly in these somewhat uncertain times, businesses can benefit from coworking, hot-desking, and flexible work options, as they can provide just that, flexibility. These work models provide easy terms for opting in and out, for upscaling or for downsizing. Employees and freelancers can ‘hot desk’, giving them the freedom to work when and where suits them whilst also working amongst a community of like-minded professionals. At Iconic, our coworking spaces provide the option to either ‘hot-desk’ or to have your own ‘dedicated desk’, meaning you have a set desk to return to daily. You can also opt for a private studio office or upscale and move to a larger private office space as you grow, all under the one roof.
With the return to work, a new survey from the Central Statistics Office has found that 90% of those aged between 35 and 44 years wish to continue working remotely when the pandemic ends. However, 60% of those stated that they only wish to work remotely some of the time. Employees want flexibility and the option to work where and when they want. A study conducted by Microsoft in 2021 found that 55% of people noted that their work environment would play a part in their decision-making process when it came to applying for new jobs. Employees no longer want to be working in densely populated office spaces, they want inviting and open office spaces where they can collaborate and socialise with other employees.
The benefits of coworking can also lower costs in many areas for a business. Pre pandemic, office properties in big cities were so expensive that underused space cost companies an estimated £4 billion (€4.8 billion) a year in London alone. Commercial offices in big cities can be expensive to rent or buy. With most employers now offering their employees remote working options, for some businesses it doesn’t make sense to invest in a traditional office setting that could lay idle for most of the working week.
With the onset of the pandemic, companies are cutting down on larger office spaces to cut costs. Coworking and flexible work options mean that employers can lease a smaller space that can be utilised as needed as it also provides them with the flexibility to expand and scale as they grow. Coworking spaces also massively reduce company overheads in comparison to those associated with traditional office space. According to the UK Market Summary 2019, it can cost up to £4,000 extra per year to work from an office with a fixed lease, compared with flexible workspaces.
Being part of a coworking space means being part of a serviced office. This means your serviced office provider will look after your IT set-up, all workspace furniture, kitchen facilities, typically including coffee on tap, you will also have a team in-house and on-hand to support at every step as part of the package. This front of house team acts as an extension of your business so you’re not only creating a professional and established business front, but you are also cutting on overheads massively when considering all of the added benefits of your coworking membership.
Having your day-to-day amenities looked after, allows for companies to focus on and to spend in other areas, such as employee retention, technology, and employee wellbeing. The increasing costs of rental properties in big cities can create barriers for small businesses and freelancers. Coworking and flexible working options allow for individuals and SMBs to avail of coworking spaces at a lower cost. Flexible workspaces offer lower costs and low commitment, with spaces that will flex for you.
Increases collaboration and networking opportunities
With remote working, there runs the risk of shrinking your network. Networking, one of the massive benefits of coworking, can be vital to innovation and collaboration, and with the increase in remote working, networking circles can begin to dwindle. Within a coworking community, you are surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs, start-ups, freelancers, and creatives, from multiple industries and backgrounds. By working alongside such a diverse community, you are posed with endless opportunities to make strong connections for both business development and business partnerships.
Not only this, but coworking communities can offer an escape from the isolation of working from home alone, allowing for employees to have a coworking community surrounding them, facilitating an entrepreneurial spirit and inspiring creativity. Serviced office providers typically provide weekly community events open to their members to take advantage of, which are another way to help members immerse themselves in to the community and grow their network.
Safety measures in place
As restrictions ease and many are returning to the workplace, there may be some anxious feelings in the air. Patricia Murray from the Health and Safety Authority comments on employee thoughts surrounding returning to the office.
“The big concerns are rather similar from both sides, in that the big fear, I suppose, is the unknown of the transitional phase. So, some employees might be worried about getting to work and how the workplace will be organised in terms of their safety.”
Having a traditional conventional workspace means that safety measures must be implemented, which comes with costs. The benefits of coworking mean that flexible or serviced office providers establish these protocols in their buildings on behalf of their clients, which help to save you (as the business using the space) on overheads. At Iconic, invested heavily in safety measures to ensure we could provide a safer working environment for our staff and members. For us, these measures include temperature scanners on arrival, increased ventilation where possible, increased overall cleaning, as well as plexi-pod workstations.
The benefits of coworking are well demonstrated in this article, and with the ever-changing world and a new generation of remote workers, coworking could be the next best step for your business.
Want to learn more about coworking and how it can work for you?
There’s no one size fits all solution when it come to finding workspace. That’s why at Iconic Offices we create a flexible workspace contract that’s unique to your business. If you want to chat to one of our workspace specialists to learn more, enter your details below and a member from the team will reach out.