The SMO #coworking Blog

Coworking Space Articles & Opinions

08.04.2020 Back to Blog articles

How Coronavirus and Lockdown Is Impacting Modern Working Environments

Before the Coronavirus outbreak, we were already seeing significant changes and shifts in how we were choosing to work. However, since self-isolation measures came into place more and more of us have turned to working from home; all be it not always by choice. Many of us have had this idyllic perception of working from home; the ability to work in your pj’s’, no commute and no annoying colleagues what could be better?! However, now that many have had a taste of this supposed ‘dream’ working condition they are finding themselves longing to go back to their more traditional working environment.

So why the change of heart? Put simply, many people realise that working from home is not all its made out to be, especially when you still have to meet deadlines. This can be exacerbated if you have other distracting factors such as children at home. That being said there will be elements of working from home which many may find hard to give up. For this reason, when self-isolation restrictions are relaxed, will we necessarily all be rushing back to our traditional 9 to 5 office life?

So now we have had a taste of working from home, with its positives as well as its negatives, will we be able to go back to a traditional office set up or will we be left wanting more? But wait, there is a solution….coworking and coworking spaces! Coworking offers many of the positives we associate with working from home; including:

  • Flexible work hours
  • The ability to work in whatever clothing you are most comfortable in (although PJ’s are probably out)
  • The ability to ‘tune out’ some external distractions (such as gossiping Gwen)
  • Reduced commute (Although coworking spaces cannot offer zero commute time they certainly can offer a significantly reduced commute distance and time)

However, coworking can also offer solutions to many of the negatives which can come with working from home. For example:

Loneliness:

This is one of the most common issues with working from home. For some people they love it but for many they find themselves climbing the walls after a period of time. While in an office you may want to avoid gossiping Gwen, you might equally be happy to chat while getting a drink or making and eating your lunch. Coworking can be the best of both worlds with many of its users looking for the same thing i.e. the ability to ‘tune people out’ when you want/need but to also have the ability and facility to have human interaction when it suits you whether it’s for some company or to brainstorm ideas and solutions (especially if you are in a creative industry).

Distractions:

Admit it, we have all been there, working from home and getting distracted by something. Whether it is something interesting on the tv, juggling some laundry or trying to squeeze in some family time during your breaks, we are all guilty of something. That said its not always your fault, as many people have found out while trying to work during the corvid 19 lockdown. Sometimes no matter how hard you try to define a clear workspace at home, distractions can sneak through; whether it’s in the form of your partner, a flatmate or your kids.

Coworking can help define a clear boundary between your working life and your personal life. In this scenario everyone using a coworking office are in the same place; they need the ability to have peace and quiet in which to work but also the opportunity for social interaction and general human contact.

Never Turning Off:

When working from home it can be hard to set clear boundaries for others (as we have discussed above) as well as for yourself. Many of us will have found ourselves in that situation, especially if you are a small business owner or senior manager. Whether it is that email coming in from a client at 8 pm or the desire to ‘just get that proposal done’ working from home can also mean that you are never really ‘not working’.

By utilising a coworking space you can define clear periods of working and social time without being limited to a traditional 9 to 5. There is always flexibility when it comes to coworking offices, allowing you to come and go as you please, with some offering access 24/7. Therefore you maintain the flexibility of your working hours without merging your working and personal life together.

In A Nutshell

Since the coronavirus outbreak and recommended self-isolation measures, many people will have been given a taste of working from home or remote working. While some may have loved and embraced this opportunity others will have found that working from home is simply not for them. However, these people might also now see that a rigid 9-5 in an office is equally not for them. So what should you do when restrictions relax and we can return to normal employment? First things first, look back on your experience over this period to identify what working environment suits you best.

Questions to ask yourself should include:

  • Can you stay as motivated outside a traditional office?
  • Do you prefer to have more flexible working hours?
  • How much of a social element do you look for during your working day?
  • Do you do a lot of collaborative or team-based work?
  • Do you need access to any specific technology that you would not be able to necessarily access from home or a coworking space?

Next, speak to your employer to see what they would be willing to facilitate and finally have a discussion with your employer to see if there is any room for compromises. For example, some employers may not be happy for staff to work from home but might be willing to meet you halfway with some conditions such as working from a coworking office, regular checks with the main office via voice or video chat or providing that you still meet your targets, deadlines and objectives. Regardless of which working environment suits you best, you will now know what works for you and what doesn’t so when restrictions do relax you can be ‘the best you’.

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