Brian Farris makes the case for flexible workspace franchises in a post-pandemic landscape.
There’s no question that this past year has been so unprecedented that it will change the way we work and do business forever. Throughout the world entrepreneurs, employees, and customers have been affected. In the coworking and rentable office space sector we have seen vast changes that are set to permanently change the way the industry relates to the worker and the business owner.
When the pandemic hit, many businesses closed their doors and no one was interested in working in a coworking space even if they could. We are now nearing the end of the pandemic and 155 million Americans have been fully vaccinated and 372 million doses have been distributed. More and more Americans continue to return to the office every day.
However, worker and business sentiment still hasn’t changed much when it comes to the way we have worked since the start of the pandemic. Employees and employers have adapted to new routines, new ways of being efficient and effective, and their expectations for the workplace are different.
The sudden shift in workplaces is opening the eyes of business owners and making them wonder if the cost of maintaining an office space is worth it, especially as remote work has shown that there is potential to save on obvious expenses like rent, utilities, furniture, cleaning services, and more.
This is exactly why we are expecting a great interest and increase in the demand for virtual assistants, call answering services, and rentable private offices and conference rooms.
A new post-pandemic landscape
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that the normal coworking communal space isn’t the most popular option. Business owners, employees, and clients coming into rentable office spaces want to be in a more private setting where they can work and focus on tasks. Social distancing concerns have changed the layout of offices and has increased the need for private spaces.
Employees will demand the right to be safe where they work and some are now simply going to expect to work in a more private setting. On the other hand, business owners wanting to decrease costs are surely thinking of ways to minimize their rent payments or get rid of them entirely. Businesses that are spending a large chunk of their budget on rent are finding that virtual assistants, rentable office space, and phone calling services are the way to go.
Even before the pandemic hit, coworking and open office spaces were crowded and full of the distractions that are inevitable when working around other people. With people now working from home, many businesses and employees have proven that they can be just as productive at home as they can be in a coworking situation. This past year has shown us that the new work from home capability also presented its own set of distractions and challenges. When people and businesses were starting to adjust to the work from home realities, they also began to see that an office space is still needed, just not in the same capacity as before the pandemic.
With many people continuing to work in a new way, it has a newer generation of business owners and employees praising the fact that they can focus on what is most important to them: the bottom line of their business, without needing a permanent four wall structure to go to or pay for.
The convenience of renting a mailbox for your company, being able to schedule conference rooms and office space without a long term lease, and having other people focusing on answering client calls or setting up appointments will be the norm as we continue to move forward into the post-pandemic era.
The importance of human interaction
Now more than ever, we have seen that there is still the need for us to have face-to-face business interaction. It’s one of the positive points coworking has going for it. Employees and employers can meet as needed to maximize the efficiency of meetings, interactions, and collaborations.
Even while working from home, socialization is still an important part of employee and employee/employer relationships. Collaboration and other social interactions may be manageable virtually, but it can still be better to use a private office space to really ensure a productive use of time. Plus, it provides a break from the distractions we’ve come to recognize while working from home.
Rentable private offices enable small businesses to do this in a safe and productive way without the business owners having to buy property or commit to a long term lease. This draws costs away from a traditional office but still provides employees with the support and systems when they need it.
Flexible and affordable
Flexibility and cost effectiveness are the hallmarks of the new modern business world. When you have a distributed workforce, flexibility is crucial, and while some employees will flourish working from home, others will need a place to go to get the job done.
The flexible office space was made for the modern business owner, especially now. It allows for a productive environment and the professional support needed to get tasks done so business owners can have the freedom to focus on what actually matters for them.
The pandemic has certainly shaken things up, but as the world moves forward into the post-pandemic landscape, coworking will continue to be a fiscally responsible option. The world was already headed in this direction, with a focus on virtual assistants and private rentable offices, but it has certainly been sped up dramatically.
The coming years will showcase who has been able to increase their technology capabilities for entrepreneurs and workers who have embraced new office trends or we will see who will continue to try to market their way through to keep their old models alive.
Brian Farris is brand president of Intelligent Office and is responsible for the strategic vision and development of the brand, which provides private and productive offices and meeting space along with customized virtual administrative and phone answering services