Board post: Guidelines for coworking spaces in 2021
By Kalin Kassabov, Founder and CEO of ProTexting.com, a rapidly growing enterprise-level text messaging suite.
As we move into the latter part of 2021, many small businesses still face uncertainty. Security concerns always keep people at home or at least change their daily behavior. Many workplaces continued to offer employees flexible hours and the ability to work from home. In this environment, coworking spaces are an attractive solution for entrepreneurs, online business owners, freelancers and remote employees.
The advantages of coworking
Coworking emerged in the 2000s as a popular alternative to working from home or in public places such as cafes. From my experience using coworking spaces at different times and my conversations with friends and colleagues who use them, coworking offers many benefits.
• It offers networking opportunities. You will be able to meet future partners, investors, collaborators, employees, employers, etc.
• It provides social space and helps to compensate for feelings of isolation and loneliness that may accompany prolonged work at home.
• It gives you the opportunity to mingle with people from many industries and backgrounds. Such an environment can be more interesting and creative than a typical office.
• It offers a more harmonious atmosphere. Personal conflicts can arise anywhere, of course. However, a diverse and fluid environment, such as a coworking space, is less likely to be plagued by office politics and gossip than a more insular traditional office.
Are there any downsides to coworking?
Coworking is not necessarily the ideal solution for everyone at all times. There are a few potential drawbacks.
• There is a lack of privacy. If you need confidentiality, such as phone calls to discuss sensitive or proprietary information, working in a public space may not be appropriate.
• Distractions abound. If the space is busy or you have friends you talk to, a coworking space can present distractions. Of course, there are distractions everywhere, including at home, in a coffee shop, or in a traditional office.
• Costs can be tricky. Coworking spaces offer a variety of plans, depending on the business, location, and how often you use them. It may take some research and experimentation to find the solution that gives you the best value for money.
Coworking during the pandemic
When the 2020 pandemic hit, coworking spaces faced the same challenges as other businesses. Yet they have also offered many people an alternative at work or at home. Coworking spaces tend to offer greater social distancing options than a traditional office. On the one hand, they are generally accessible around the clock, allowing customers to stagger their schedules to avoid crowds.
Coworking spaces, like so many other businesses, had to undergo some restructuring in 2020. In addition to improved cleaning, businesses have redesigned floor plans to provide more personal space and redirected staff. entries to avoid unnecessary contact.
There is a certain paradox in enforcing social distancing in an environment initially intended to encourage socialization. However, even a reinvented and safer coworking space remains a public space and considerably more social than working from home. While conditions remain uncertain in 2021, coworking remains a viable option for businesses and entrepreneurs.
Make the most of coworking
Whether you’re a solo business owner or managing a team, coworking offers plenty of opportunities for flexible working arrangements.
• Shop around and choose your coworking space carefully. Make sure they have policies in place to keep everyone safe. Read customer reviews to make sure they have the features you need.
• Maintain security protocols. Pay attention to the latest news and recommendations in your area regarding masks, social distancing, vaccines, and the current level of risk in your area.
• Keep your personal space clean. Although coworking spaces have a cleaning crew, it’s still up to each user to clean up after themselves. Before you go, take everything with you and don’t leave any debris behind.
• Use virtual meetings when appropriate. Most coworking spaces offer their clients the convenience of meeting rooms. However, while social distancing is always recommended, it is safer to hold meetings online using video conferencing software. Virtual meetings are often more convenient because they allow people to connect from any location.
The future of coworking
The great thing about coworking spaces is that they can fill many roles. Some people use them as their sole or primary workplace. Others use them occasionally, such as when traveling or when their usual workplace is not open. Most coworking spaces offer a variety of flexible plans, depending on how often you need to use them.
Some large companies offer spaces in several cities and countries. WeWork, for example, one of the pioneers of coworking, has been around since 2010 and has 800 locations in over 100 cities. This type of setup is ideal for entrepreneurs who travel and can check-in at the local coworking office wherever they go.
If coworking interests you, take the time to research businesses in your area. Talk to the people who have used these spaces. Read reviews online. You may find that a coworking space is a safe, convenient, and social environment in which to do your work.