It’s fair to say that this year has been unlike any other, all plans have just flown out of the window and whilst COVID-19 represents the biggest challenge for any business at the moment, it also offers opportunities for members and operators of flexible coworking spaces, landlords and investors.
We recently ran a poll across Twitter and LinkedIn asking how many people who are currently working from home have a dedicated space where they have an actual desk and office chair to work from. Whilst it wasn’t the most scientific survey carried out and the results possibly have no statistical significance, we did determine that 40% of respondents were working from either the kitchen table or the sofa.
In some instances working remotely is beneficial to productivity. If you have a long report to write or you need to concentrate without people popping over to your desk asking ‘could you just…?’, it can be great to tuck yourself away and focus on the project. However, the downside to that can be there can be a disconnect between teams, the casual moments of inspiration are lost, idea sharing becomes more of a chore. As a tactile person and one who likes to try to illustrate my points by drawing (badly) idea on a page or pointing to things on screens, working remotely can be a challenge at times.
Can you be creative working from home?
The other side to this is 35% admit they have concerns over productivity (Society for Human Resource Management COVID-19 Research as quoted in wework.ft.com). In some cases people simply do not have the space to work from home or their home is not an ideal environment to work from. Think of the many young people, starting their careers who live in shared accommodation. If 6 people are sharing the often limited communal space, it could get very busy and distracting.
The benefits of a co-working office space
According to the Cushman & Wakefield report on Coworking spaces published recently which references Coworking Resources, Pre-COVID, 1 new coworking centre opened every 5 days in London reflecting the growing numbers of small scale start-ups and entrepreneurs. The market is still out there and it’s growing, it’s just that at the moment they are working from home and soon the cons of working from home may outweigh the pros.
It’s also very likely that the next 12 to 18 months will see an increase in solo-prenuers, micro-enterprises and small business start-ups. Many of the employees who have been made redundant will use the opportunity to take stock of what they really want to achieve with their careers and their lives, assess their work life balance and look to find their way in their own enterprise. This creates a welcome opportunity for the flexible workspace, coworking office space.
The hybrid office solution
With 70% of companies seeing remote working as part of their future business model since the outbreak of the pandemic compared to 37% pre-Covid (source CBRE Global Occupier Sentiment Survey), yet 90% of workers want to return to the office for 1 day per week, it’s clear that businesses need to offer choices.
It’s not that we don’t need offices anymore it’s more that we want them to work for us rather than being tied to expensive rents on long inflexible leases. We also want a little bit of a creative and collaborative buzz about the place. We want to feel as though we’re part of something exciting.
Many businesses are letting their fixed leases on fully self-contained offices lapse in favour of dedicated space in co-working offices.
These more flexible, hybrid arrangements allow business owners to provide their teams with the opportunity of having a fully risk assessed working environment, a place where they can work as a team, share ideas and inspiration and meet clients in a professional environment whilst still accepting that working from home has its place in today’s work environment.
How to make the best of the current situation
Looking at the situation from a holistic perspective, there is good reason to get out there are start marketing your flexible coworking office space so that when people are looking to move away from their home office, even for a few days a week, and employers are looking for realistic, professional hybrid solutions, your space is the one they choose.
Marketing for flexible office space
At The Marketing Optimist we have experience of working with shared workspace businesses, we use the hybrid office model ourselves. We’ve able to increase LinkedIn followers ten fold, gathered significant followers on Instagram and we gained pro-active PR for sites in Sheffield and Leeds. At the launch of the Wizu Workspace site in Sheffield over 100 people attended including many members of the Sheffield business community, council members and local press. By managing their overall marketing and their social media accounts we were able to generate more interest in their coworking spaces and ultimately get more space booked and rented out.
Now is a crucial time for you to invest in your marketing strategy in terms of making people aware of the services you offer and how you differentiate your office space from the others on offer. We can help you do this. We can create events, in person or virtual, we can manage your social media channels to ensure that your message is optimised and targeted, if it relates to marketing we can do it for you.
To find out more about how The Marketing Optimist can help you make the most of this time during lockdown to showcase your shared office space and make people aware of how great it will be to get back to work in your workspace, drop us a line and we’ll arrange a call.