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Community Stories

Coworking for Businesses Amid Social Distancing in Australia

Over the last couple of months, Australia has been fighting a spiralling battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not only sparked an unanticipated disruption to our daily lives but our workplace ecosystem too. For the first time in centuries, countless workplaces in Australia are confronted with an existential threat. Nonetheless, negative effects aside. If we looked for the positives, we’d say that the pandemic has accelerated the evolution of work. It has given companies the opportunity to take a step back and rethink their business strategies, operations, and practices – in ways that no one has ever thought about before. In the past, the idea of office spaces used to revolve around long-term leases with significant financial outlay and rigid design and operational commitments. However, in this new era, companies are also envisioning a paradigm shift in their work environment with an urge for flexibility. In fact, organisations are starting to question the need for an office space. Even as companies involuntarily experiment with home offices to cope with the virus, working from home may not be a viable solution for all employees in the long run. So how can companies look to restart in more cost-effective spaces that offer greater flexibility? Lo and behold, a third space has emerged as an untold hero amid social distancing in Australia. That is – coworking. If you are looking to build a workplace ecosystem comprising the office, home and a flexible alternative, you could consider these shared workspaces. How can they help?

An extension of your office

WilliamsSt-JustCo 2322x1545 As the landscape of work shifts in Australia, coworking spaces could act as an extension of your office. In the event of a disruption, the last thing you would want to do is to halt your business operations entirely. With the concept of the third space as part of your business continuity plan, your team can easily relocate into these agile and scalable offices. Moreover, the ‘1.5 metre apart’ rule and other social distancing requirements has forced companies to adopt a split team arrangement, with half deployed to alternate locations to minimise the risk of cross-infection. Coworking spaces present you with an additional area to house part of your workforce, render professional support and enable large teams to collaborate in a conducive environment.

Zero commitment

COVID-19 not only calls for a higher set of demands for space, but it has also made organisations in Australia scramble to find options that come with little to no commitment in this time of uncertainty. The good news is that with the different plans and rental pricings that coworking spaces offer, you get to cut back on fixed commercial rents when you find the need to. Why pay for more space than you require when you’ve got the ultimate flexibility to only pay for what you need?

An alternative lifeline for your employees

Flinders-Lounge-1140x362 In numerous ways, coworking spaces offer the same advantages that home offices yield. At the same time, they help to combat the common challenges posed while working from home, namely inadequate home office setup and undue distractions. To counter these, remote employees have been forced to seek an alternative venue outside of their homes – and here’s where coworking spaces really come into play.

But first, are coworking spaces safe?

Where safety is concerned, one should take no chances. To cater to the demand for alternative workspaces, coworking operators have also stepped up safety measures to protect its members. At JustCo Australia, for instance, we introduced a new set of social protocols including:
  • Reconfigured spaces to cater for social distancing: Hot-desking and communal kitchen areas have been cut by half, lounges are separated, and behavioural signages are prominently displayed throughout Sydney and Melbourne
  • Card-free access introduced across all centres for safer entry to private and shared spaces.
Furthermore, spacious design was a fundamental consideration prior to our launch in Australia. With centres like our William Street office spanning 8,000 sqm over four floors, finding a secluded space to work while adhering to social distancing measures is not a challenge.

Coworking is here to stay

While the acceleration of flexible working policies does not equate to wiping out office footprint entirely, businesses can undoubtedly utilise both solutions in tandem to meet the ever-changing needs of their businesses in a socially distant world.

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