There’s no denying that the impact of COVID-19 has been far-reaching and has touched every aspect of daily life. From the way we grocery shop, to the way our kids attend school and the way we run and operate our businesses.
Many businesses have shifted to work from home (WFH) or a hybrid of staggered in-office and at-home work for employees. Only employees deemed essential are doing their work in-house, while all other employees that can do their work offsite are propping their laptops up at the kitchen table or in a makeshift at-home office.
There are several aspects of collaborative work environments that complement this new logistical reality.
- Businesses can tighten their operating belts by getting out of commercial leases
- Employees who need to meet can do so in comfortable, safe coworking spaces
- Workers can come into collaborative workspaces some days while working from home other days
Collaborative workspaces can be a great fit for companies that need to save money but still want a safe, clean workspace where employees can meet or work when the need arises.
Drawbacks to Working from Home
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home seemed like the best-case scenario for many employees, particularly parents of smaller children. Mass school closures began in March as the virus spread. Once it became clear the virus wasn’t going to ebb before summer, most schools threw in the towel on the rest of the academic year. At the time, WFH looked like ideal news for parents who had to stay home with their children.
However, it wasn’t long into out-of-office work that attitudes began to shift. Although the pandemic has shown that people are still able to do their jobs at home, many find it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance or optimal productivity.
For some, the separation between work and home has gotten noticeably smaller—in some cases it’s just the line separating the bedroom from the hallway. This is a struggle most entrepreneurs have dealt with at some point, but it is probably new to employees who have never lived in their office, particular those at mid-size to large companies.
The forced WFH transition is starting to show people that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Friends of entrepreneurs who used to envy the seemingly carefree and flexible work conditions are now seeing how difficult it is to fully sign off at the end of the day or get work done when the line between business hours and personal hours is so blurry.
In addition to the previously mentioned drawbacks, the New York Times recently published an article listing a myriad of WFH-related injuries. There’s been a documented increase in back and neck problems for many workers who had to transition from sitting at desks to sitting anywhere they have a decent Wi-Fi signal. Hunching over laptops on beds, couches and countertops is putting undue strain on workers’ necks and lower backs, according to chiropractors.
Ironically, something that COVID-19 has shown us is the importance of balance in our lives. This balance is an element that is difficult to manage when the separation of your workspace and home space is so slim it’s essentially nonexistent.
Finding a happy medium between working from the couch or the kitchen table and going back to the typical office setting may be the best option for transitioning into a post-pandemic work environment.
Larger companies such as Facebook and Google have developed year-long plans to get employees back in their offices by July 2021, but most CEOs and experts agree that there is no one-size-fits-all approach on how to transition back into the office.
The Financial Calculation
It may not be a big deal for Facebook and Google to continue paying rent, property taxes and upkeep on those massive empty campuses, but it’s a different story for many SMBs.
If staying afloat and solvent is your main goal, it likely makes sense to put expenses like real estate or lease payments on the back burner for now.
Rent is one of the biggest expenses outside of labor for many small businesses, which is why many SMB owners are turning to collaborative or coworking spaces to cut down those costs.
Desperate Times Call for Reassessing and Pivoting
Another outcome of the pandemic is that many people, primarily women, are looking at COVID-19 as an opportunity to pivot in their careers or to possibly start their own business. A recent survey in Forbes found that around 61% of women are looking to make post-pandemic career changes.
The pandemic has also been a boon for online retailers, but a catastrophe for brick and mortar stores, which have seen sales plummet. This new reality has forced many smaller manufacturing companies and retailers (many of which have extremely high rental costs) to make big changes in where and how they operate.
One advantage for small businesses is that they are able to adapt a little easier compared with their larger counterparts. They are lean and flexible enough to pivot and take advantage of the increasing use of the online market.
Coworking Spaces in Tempe Are Primed to Help You Pivot
At MAC6 we are prepared for these two trends as we offer both shared office space for rent, which includes coworking desks and workspaces, as well as manufacturing space for small business manufacturers or craftspeople focused on online sales.
We know each small business comes with its own unique set of challenges, especially in the current business climate of COVID-19. We are here to give your business affordable options to smooth your transition to the post-pandemic future. Contact us to schedule a tour or ask any questions you may have about our offerings and services.