Coworking Spaces : The Future of Workforce
If coworking spaces want to continue business-as-usual and ensure greater attraction of corporates towards them, they will have to implement heightened safety protocols, higher than a traditional office
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Since the coronavirus outbreak in India, all of us are living a life beyond imagination. The 3-month long lockdown forced all of us to stay home and adopt work from home as a new normal. Though some companies were technologically equipped to work effectively while employees stayed home, a major part had to make many adjustments - technologically and mentally, to adjust to the uncertain situation.
Now that lockdown is over, and states are gradually opening different operations with restrictions, a big challenge lies ahead of the corporate sector as to how to restart the usual business because work from home cannot stay forever. A lot of innovative policies need to be implemented across all work environments to get hold of the risk of virus spread. In this regard, coworking spaces have an imperative role to play.
Considering the present scenario when many start-ups and also some big companies are grappling to restart their operations, they might switch to coworking space for their limited requirement and cost savings. If coworking spaces want to continue business-as-usual and ensure greater attraction of corporates towards them, they will have to implement heightened safety protocols, higher than a traditional office.
A Revised Business Strategy
Coworking sector's bet on enterprises and enclosed private offices may have given them a slight edge in weathering the current storm. However, they still need to make lasting changes to bounce back. As one-of-a-kind transition occurs, when all of us tread our path from multiple lockdown extensions towards unlock, more operators may opt for a revenue-share model with landlords to protect themselves.
As a part of their business continuity efforts, the coworking sector businesses are primarily focusing on ensuring the safety of members and hygiene of premises at the highest level. Moving ahead, there is also a need to re-design the workspaces with more focus on the activity-based working environment along with collaboration zones. The sector has always held the edge when it comes to cost-efficiency, and considering the present situation when the financial burden is huge on almost every organisation, the community expects to see the fastest revival during unlock. As the coronavirus scare eases out and many companies look to restart their business-as-usual, coworking spaces are expected to be the first preference for many because of their cost-effectiveness and flexibility in the time period of rental agreements.
As against the pre-COVID era, when optimising the use of office space was a priority, large-scale behavioral and physical space alterations are inevitable in present scenario - seating at offices following social distancing norms, shift-based work, virtual meetings and conferences, strict hygiene protocol with regular sanitisation of premises and sanitising every member entering the premises.
The implementation of safety protocol is not as difficult as it is thought to be as the usually uncouth public is surprisingly compliant now. People are aware that they face a dire threat, and almost everyone is following social distancing norms and wearing masks for good measure. Other important measures include adequate space between workstations, staggered meal timings with seating demarcation, restriction of gatherings in common areas, increased spacing between seats in meeting rooms, and so on.
Summing It All Up
As risk management becomes an important part of organisational strategy, especially when companies chalk out their business continuity plans, chances are there will be an increased opportunity for flexible workspaces in Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities. The coworking sector is continuously striving to re-strategize their plans as they prepare for the possible scenarios once normalcy resumes. While the situation is still uncertain, the coworking businesses are well prepared to make a smooth comeback.