There’s no denying the pandemic has shifted the way we work, interact, and overall live our lives. We’ve gone from working in an office to remote work, interacting in-person to virtually through video conferencing platforms, and spending much of our time at home. While 2020 will certainly go down in history, 2021 is shedding some light at the end of the tunnel. As states are going through reopening phases, the vaccine becoming more widespread, and with increased cleaning protocols, it seems to be only a matter of time before the pandemic subsides and life goes back to the “new” normal.

 

But what is the “new” normal when it comes to work? For some of us, that means going back to the office. For others, it means remote work is the norm. With many companies walking away from their leases and tens of thousands of square feet of office space, many employees have turned to their home offices or coworking spaces. For those that find it difficult to work from home, whether it be due to lack of space or lack of peace and quiet, coworking locations help separate work and life.

 

The demand for coworking is expected to skyrocket come Fall 2021 according to industry expert panelists from GCUC (Global Coworking Unconference Conference) and GWA (Global Workspace Association) virtual conferences. Coworking space provides remote workers with a professional space close to home, often closer than their former offices, which greatly helps those with children manage their home life and professional responsibilities. In fact, 60% of coworkers report being more relaxed at home since they began coworking.

 

Not only have we had to navigate the new WFH life, but we’ve also had to navigate the absence of seeing our loved ones, friends, and coworkers. The face-to-face contact came to a halt, and our interactions turned virtual via means of video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Many people thrive from physical contact and social interactions but have been deprived over the past year. This absence has played a large role in the mental health of our society. While video conferencing tools can certainly help bridge the gap of isolation, they don’t come close to comparing to face-to-face interactions.

 

Coworking spaces foster communities that:

  • Offer collaboration and networking opportunities
  • Promote productivity
  • Help members feel and stay connected
  • Cultivate interpersonal human interactions

 

According to statistics, nearly 70% of coworkers said they were able to focus more, therefore increase levels of productivity through coworking. Majority of coworking spaces have enhanced their cleaning protocols and allow companies to offer safe human interactions through social distancing. Finding a comfortable, collaborative, and safe workspace is very important, especially for our mental wellbeing.

 

With coworking spaces popping up all over the country, it’s important to choose one that takes health and safety protocols seriously, now more than ever. Make sure to understand what measures a prospective coworking space is taking to keep members safe before signing up.

 

Staples Studio, a coworking community in the Greater Boston area, has shown what top of the line protocols should look like. When the pandemic hit, they were quick to implement:

  • Touchless elements throughout the entire space
  • Socially distanced seating in the open coworking areas
  • Temperature checks, mask requirements, and sanitizing stations
  • They even hired a team of Sanitization Specialists who provide daily, continuous cleaning

 

While many businesses unfortunately took a hit from the pandemic, there are many reasons to believe coworking will survive and thrive in the wake of COVID-19. My advice? Find a coworking community near you and lock in your membership now, before coworking spaces hit their capacity limits!