Flexible Working: The New Normal Of a Post-COVID World
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The novel coronavirus has impacted every industry today and the co-working space is no exception. We are slowly tracing our steps back to the business-as-usual mode as it is time to embrace the new normal when it comes to working and productivity.
Co-working spaces have been at the epicenter of collaboration and flexibility for a diverse group of audiences ranging from multinationals to new-age startups and even the lone wolves—freelancers. The allure of shared desks and common space may dampen with the new social distancing laws and can bring a shift in the core functioning of a shared workspace.
However, things may not be as bleak as they seem because remote workers still need to work. According to an early-April 2020 MIT survey of 25,000 American workers, it was found that nearly half the US workforce has been working from home due to COVID-19. A similar trend has been witnessed around the world for the first time. In India, most IT giants have announced work from home as a permanent solution, even in a post COVID-19 world. More than 70 per cent of companies are likely to continue the work-from-home policy for a percentage of their total staff for the next six months to maintain social distancing and for business continuity, according to a survey by Knight Frank.
We are at the behest of our livelihoods and not having one can have a devastating impact. In fact, according to the report of Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), over 119 workers have lost their jobs within the first two weeks of the lockdown. In such cases, those who have been freelancing or working remotely full-time, need to double up on their efforts and need to work. The usual desk at home is not exactly a long-term solution for many. Additionally, not all Indian households are equipped for optimum efficiency and output as infrastructure and technology continue to pose a challenge. In such cases, appropriate working solutions are the need of the hour.
Not all organizations can rely on big office spaces but need a fully equipped office space to carry out day-to-day operations. While it is not easy to overcome this challenge, it is achievable with the help of co-working spaces. With a vast network of centres in the city, they offer corporates the flexibility to follow an effective hub and spoke model, keeping in mind the well-being of their employees in the current scenario.
While in some places, easing up restrictions is witnessing an influx of ‘normalcy’, certain regions continue to be under the spell of lockdown. Unlock 1.0 was implemented to restart the economy which also meant getting back to offices while following government SOPS. However, it has been witnessed that the majority of the workforce, despite offices implementing stringent sanitization methods and social distancing measures, continues to work from home as they save the travel time and cost with zero commuting, they have a flexible environment to carry of their tasks and are able to maintain a better work life balance.
Employers now are aware that not every employee would want to work from home, either due to technological constraints or the lack of sociability.
Many business owners and organizations are worried about the post-COVID future that awaits them. However, with new social reforms, economic and communal assistance, there are hopes to revive industries and the economy at a positive pace. Co-working sector though initially saw a decline in business due to the pandemic, it holds within a pool of opportunity to help businesses embrace the new normal and adapt to the concept of remote working efficiently and effectively.