The COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 transformed millions of white-collar workers into remote employees overnight. After a rocky transition period, businesses adapted and found ways to keep operations running efficiently and foster team building in the online environment. While many workers and companies are looking forward to returning to the office, the office of 2021 and beyond will look different than the one we left. Companies are reevaluating how much office space and how many locations they realistically need. There’s nothing like paying for thousands of square feet of office space that you can’t use to put into perspective how much space is really necessary. Many companies will allow for more flexible schedules after the pandemic, allowing employees to telecommute a couple times a week or work remotely entirely. For start-ups, small businesses, freelancers, and remote employees and teams of larger companies, shared workspaces are well-positioned to become the new norm.
Shared Workplaces Offer Lower Costs for Startups & Small Businesses
For start-ups and small businesses, buying or leasing and furnishing an office space can add up to a significant expense. The cost and logistics of setting up internet access (and troubleshooting when something goes wrong) take valuable time away from a limited staff. Top shared workspaces offer amenities including:
- High speed wireless internet
- Mail and package delivery
- Conference room access (ideally with presentation capabilities)
- On-site parking
- Kitchen available
- 24/7 access
- Dedicated cubicle or small office
- Ability to add cubicles and offices as team needs dictate
- Convenient location
Shared workspaces let a small team or individual business owner show up and get to work without entering into a long-term lease and incurring unnecessary expenses.
Some shared workspaces also offer a virtual option, which includes use of the business address and receiving mail at the shared workspace location. This option is ideal for business owners whose team can work from home or from remote locations. Having a dedicated business address for sending and receiving mail protects the privacy of business owners.
The abrupt disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic hit small businesses hard. Many small businesses went under in 2020. New start-ups and existing small businesses can benefit from using shared workspaces to minimize their financial outlay while growing their business.
Freelance Work is Growing Rapidly and Freelancers Need Low Overhead
In 2019, before the disruptions caused by COVID-19, 35% of the US workforce (about 57-million people) earned money freelancing. The “Freelancing in America” sixth annual study of the independent workforce, commissioned by Upwork and Freelancers Union, found that the share of full-time freelancers rose from 17% in 2014 to 28% in 2019. With job losses and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people turned to freelancing to supplement or replace their income. Interestingly, 51% of freelancers surveyed reported that there was no amount of money that would definitely make them return to a traditional job. It follows that many of the new freelancers may continue to do so, full-time or on the side, for many years to come. A majority (53%) of Gen-Z workers earn freelance income, as do 40% of Millennial workers and smaller percentages of older generations.
The most common type of freelancing work is skilled services, which includes professional services like programming, marketing, and consulting. These skilled professionals can benefit from access to traditional office amenities, like a dedicated workspace, but are limited by budget constraints. Shared workspaces offer much lower rates than individually renting a small office space. For freelancers, the ability to work in a shared office-space has unique benefits:
- Preventing loneliness and monotony from working at home
- Providing a corporate mailing address to project professionalism and protect privacy
- Boost efficiency by having a dedicated workspace free of distractions
Freelancers often work non-traditional hours and benefit from shared workspaces that offer 24/7 access.
Big Companies Have Warmed Up to Remote Workers and Teams
Corporate giants made headlines over the last few months announcing long term commitments to remote work. Google plans to have its 200,000 employees work remotely through at least summer 2021. Twitter has told their staff they may work from home permanently. Mark Zuckerberg expects half of Facebook’s workforce to be remote within the decade.
Slack’s Future Forum research of 4,700 knowledge workers found that only 12% want to return to full-time work in a brick-and-mortar office. The majority (72%) want to transition to a hybrid model, working some days in the office and some days remotely. The remaining workers would prefer to work full-time remote.
As corporate giants offer remote flexibility, smaller firms will need to allow remote work to compete for the same high-skilled workers. Top workers can now move outside of expensive hub cities to take advantage of the lower costs and standard of living in suburbs and small cities. Shared workspaces allow these employees to enjoy the productivity and amenities of an office while working for a company hundreds of miles away.
Working from home for much of 2019 has helped dispel many of the misconceptions workers previously held about remote work. While some workers have enjoyed working from home, others have found it wasn’t the relaxing-in-pajamas-all-day scenario they had fanaticized about. Many remote workers ran into problems such as the lack of a home office, interruptions by children and pets, an unwelcome blurring between home and work, or difficulty sharing a workspace with a spouse or roommate.
Shared workspaces provide the benefits of an office space with the freedom to avoid long commutes or live in a location far from corporate headquarters. Access to conference rooms allows remote workers to keep up with their coworkers remotely via videoconferencing or meet regularly with other remote workers in the same region.
For employers still wary of remote work, knowing their employee is in dedicated office space may help assuage concerns over productivity or distractions.
Is a Shared Workspace Right for You?
A growing number of workers are electing a shared workspace. For an excellent location with top amenities in Springfield, NJ, consider FlexWork NJ. Contact us to discuss availability.