Everything looks a little different after the dust begins to settle on COVID-19. There are a plethora of opinions out there from both Arthur and Martha about what the future holds.
On face value, the impact this lockdown has had on co-working spaces is big. You may have experienced it yourself as you walk into a Waterman Business Centre. Maybe it’s quieter? As the restrictions start to ease though, we believe that co-working locations like ours are a key recovery asset for small, medium and large businesses alike.
Why, you ask? The thinking of four-fold, including de-densification, cost-efficiency, virtual services and community connection. Whether you’re a current Waterman Member or pondering whether our services are right for you and your business, here are four valuable reasons why co-working spaces are even more important after COVID-19.
Reason One: People have to work somewhere
The past two months have forced most — if not all — companies to test the capacity for remote work. To comply with Federal and State Government restrictions, whilst actively protecting staff wellbeing, businesses of all sizes have had to adapt quickly.
As restrictions begin to ease and companies spend time in reconnaissance analysing the devastation caused by COVID-19, one thing is for sure, companies will seek to de-densify their offices. Rather than re-designing office space, companies have already turned to co-working spaces as an affordable and accessible alternative.
As Forbes reflects, de-densification is an appropriate decision, “Both to help their employees manage the crisis and transition in the recovery, as well as to avoid future such disruptions.”
Across all Waterman Centres, the size of each location successfully allows us to adhere to social distancing requirements without too much disruption to a Member’s day-to-day routine.
Reason Two: Employees will seek quality space and socialisation
It’s been a huge topic for discussion for a long, long time — what do employees seek out of their workspace. Harvard Business Review found that most employees they surveyed wanted the basics, “Better air quality, access to natural light, and the ability to personalise their workspace”.
With each of our Centres designed to incorporate natural light and flexible collaborative workspaces, alongside iconic design that’s set to impress clientele, Waterman delivers what your business and employees need. Our exceptional Centres also “help [our] Members to collaborate with other people so that there is a constant workflow for one and all.”
As the Harvard Business Reviews highlights, “A high-quality workplace — one with natural light, good ventilation, and comfortable temperatures — can reduce absenteeism up to four days a year. With unscheduled absenteeism costing companies an estimated $3,600 annually per hourly worker and $2,650 each year for salaried workers, this can have a major impact on your bottom line.”
It’s inevitable that all business models will need to change in response to COVID-19 and the workspace for employees.
Reason Three: Community is key to success
“Coworking spaces are local economic engines in their own right,” and here at Waterman Business Centres community is one of the core building blocks to generating a dynamic and positive environment.
Upon surveying tenants at three of our current locations, we found that:
· 44% have definitely noticed an uplift in morale since joining Waterman
· 23% have seen their business evolve since moving to Waterman
· 37% agreed that our networking events often lead to additional sales or business opportunities
· 45% strongly agree that hot desks and communal areas help staff needing their own space
· 22% have experienced a growth in revenue since moving to Waterman
Networking and social connection are imperative to the success of most companies, especially those that are categorised as small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Startup Genome’s study found that “Sense of community does correlate highly with indicators of overall ecosystem performance such as startup output, exits, startup valuations, exits, unicorns, and ecosystem value. A higher level of local relationships is also positively correlated with ecosystem performance.”
Reason Four: Growth of affordable, virtual services
In response to COVID-19, our Members have already experienced a dynamic move from on-site ‘Lunch And Learns’ and Friday night drinks, to educational webinars, frequent Zoom hangouts with our Waterman Members and Community Managers, as well as general feel of connectedness through our Waterman Business Community Facebook group.
The increased value of virtual services is undeniable. For an affordable price and flexible contracts, businesses and entrepreneurs can enjoy the convenience of a business address, local phone number, mailbox plus a friendly receptionist and call-forwarding services.
Like we mentioned in Reason One, the appeal of de-densifying and instead, delivering the same services for a more flexible arrangement is set to see a spike in corporations updating how and where their employees work.
CoWorker.com interviewed thousands of co-working spaces across the globe and found a similar attitude. One interview confirmed that “Companies are thinking about decentralisation of work, improving efficiency, and reducing costs. Compulsory work-from-home or opting for a nearby coworking space may be an eye-opener for corporates.”
Another interviewee confirmed that “It could have a positive effect now that companies know that their staff can actually work outside the office and still be productive. The only reason now to go to work is to see other people and socialize. Maybe companies will invest less in offices and furniture, but more in the work environment quality and surroundings.”
One thing we have all seen and experienced throughout enforced lockdown is that we are all capable of managing remotely. With programs in place like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Slack and so much more, we’re arguably more in touch with each other than ever before.
There are many moving parts in every business that will determine if and how they survive post-COVID-19. One thing that we’re confident in though is that co-working spaces and virtual services offer an excellent resolution to the traditional office environment.
If you’re interested in a Waterman Membership, Serviced Office or our virtual services, please contact us today.