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08.04.2020 Back to Blog articles

How Coworking & Office Sharing Can Help Your Business Survive COVID 19

As countries around the world implement lockdown and social isolation procedures companies are scrambling to adapt and adjust to this new working environment. So what are some of the key questions business owners are going to need to ask themselves to ensure they survive the fallout from COVID 19? These questions should include:

  • Does my business qualify for any financial support from the government?
  • How can I protect my staff as well as my business?
  • Do I have the appropriate infrastructure for my staff to work from home?
  • Can I implement a structure to facilitate staff working from home
  • With staff working from home how to ensure GDPR legislation is still met
  • Will your company be impacted by other companies shutting down/reducing output/scaling back
  • How can you keep your staff productive and efficient
  • How can you reassure your consumer and clients

However, one of the most important questions you will need to ask yourself to ensure that your company weathers this storm is:

  • How can I reduce running costs and expenses?

This is another advantage that remote working can offer. For example, if staff work from home a company can reduce their overheads associated with running the office. Moving forward this may also open up the opportunity to encourage more remote workers after the pandemic fallout, therefore, allowing a company to downsize their office space or consider office sharing with another company and thus sharing the running costs.
According to the EY Global Risk Survey, 79% of board members said their business was not very well prepared to deal with a crisis event. Whether it is the ability for employees to easily work from home or a contingency plan if your supply chain gets disrupted many companies have simply not been prepared for a pandemic scenario. This is where some companies that have already embraced a remote working model for their staff will profit. Whether it’s been allowing staff to work from home or utilising coworking spaces and shared offices these companies will already have the foundations in place to allow staff to work outside of the traditional office structure.

So What Can I Do To Help My Business Survive?

First things first, as a business owner you need to consider your staff and how to keep them safe. For many, this will involve trying to facilitate your employees working remotely or from home. However, this will not always be possible depending on the nature of your business. With that said, there are many companies where the nature of the work can easily be translated into working from home while others may not e.g. construction, retail or lawyers. In addition, some businesses are simply not prepared to offer the ability to work from home even if the nature of their work would make it feasible, for example, a marketing consultant or mechanical engineer.

Barriers for allowing staff to work from home may include:

  • Issues with access to sensitive data (GDPR)
  • Employees having a desktop computer instead of a laptop
  • Issues with access to specific/specialist programmes or software

Although some companies may not have been prepared to enable staff to work from home this does not mean that it cannot be made feasible. There are a wealth of tools out there to make the transition between working in an office to working from home easier. Key things businesses will need to implement for their staff to work from home include:

  • Company laptops, where possible, if specific software or VPN access is required. This might especially be applicable to companies handling sensitive data such as accountants, lawyers or specialisms like engineering and design)
  • Introduction and utilisation of project management and communication software such as Basecamp and Slack.
  • Redirecting staff direct lines to their work mobile or personal mobile. Or alternatively, implement the use of video or voice calling with software such as Skype or 8x8

By utilising available tools and software; companies can try to maintain a sense of normality across their staff. This can be achieved by encouraging good communication across all levels of staff ensuring that staff stay productive. By embracing the concept of remote working, working from home and coworking businesses will be able to establish strong foundations to survive the COVID 19 pandemic; while preparing themselves for any other crisis situations that might occur in the future.

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