Will co-working spaces be the offices of the future? There is much debate around whether people will return to offices, and if so, what these offices will look like. Even pre-COVID, there was much talk around work-life balance with many looking at more flexi hours in the office. Most of the time, this decision would be determined by the amount of time that commuters spent travelling to and from work. COVID added a whole new drive towards remote working, with the emphasis being on working from home. 

Advances in technology have facilitated this trend. However, there seems to be a new trend starting to surface, as people start to look at ways to end work from home boredom or Zoom fatigue. After all, human beings are social by nature and most crave to be a part of some form of physical community. What has changed, though, is that work is no longer a destination, but rather a function. With that in mind, people have the choice of where they want to work, and where they feel they can belong.

How Co-Working Spaces are Changing the Way We Work 

Co-working spaces have been around for some time and in different formats. Much like any service that relied on human gatherings, co-working spaces’ popularity and viability took a huge knock during the various lockdown stages. The very action that could have seen the demise of shared workspaces may now be the event that will contribute to the expansion of the industry. Some lessons learnt during the pandemic could be that we cannot predict the future, and therefore long term contracts of any sorts should be carefully considered. 

Remote working spaces give members the flexibility to choose when they want to use the space, usually on a pre-paid basis. So, if you don’t have a requirement on a specific day, you don’t pay, simply pick and choose the times that you need to use the offices. When there is loadshedding, your local shared working space might have backup generator power, so you only use the space during these times – no risk, no fuss. 

The new trend in shared workspaces is the neighbourhood office node. These are generally smaller type workspaces in smaller Zoom Towns or in neighbourhoods in larger metropolitan centres. Imagine now you can have your office, with all the relevant office technology, as well as a community of like-minded people, is literally 5 minutes down the road. 

This puts an end to the long commutes, hours wasted in the car travelling to and from work. Even if you need to visit a customer across town, or if you happen to be a travelling sales rep, you can literally use a remote working space at your destination. What is pretty good is there is a chance you will get to meet different people in these different workspaces. 

The Co.Unity boardrooms have become very popular with travelling sales reps. They hire the boardroom for the day and invite different customers throughout the day over for a professional meeting or presentation in a nice A-grade office space. One particular member got through 5 presentations in one day. In the past, they would have to travel to a client’s office, set up the PC to present, then do it all over again for the next customer. At best, they would see 3 customers in a single day, so our boardroom has made him more productive and less stressed.

Small towns are becoming more popular, as shared workspaces have become a critical part of creating Zoom Towns. These are towns (most that used to be sleepy holiday destinations) that are becoming popular permanent resident locations. South African places like Ballito, Hermanus, George and Plettenberg Bay are the new hotspots for remote workers. 

Co-working spaces offer out-of-towners a way to meet local business people and entrepreneurs, whilst at the same time offering A-grade office facilities usually only found in larger cities. It has never been easier to make choices on where you want to live. Living somewhere because of your place of work is completely unnecessary. 

For the younger generation, the advent of digital visas encouraged digital nomads to live and spend money in the country offering the visa while generating income from outside the country or online. This generation might not know any other type of office environment other than shared working spaces, as they become completely fluid on their living locations. But they still want to incorporate and experience the local culture and communities.

For most, we need places to go and do work, as work is a segment of life that probably shouldn’t be merged into home life activities. It is just healthy to have a dining room table to sit and tell family stories over diner, without it being the same space where you have difficult Zoom meetings all day. In the same way that it is more productive to spend an hour doing aerobics in a group at the gym, it is better to work in an office, with a group of people that are also working. It also makes it exciting to go home. Without this, work from home fatigue could become a reality.

If you’re looking for a welcoming space to get work done in fully equipped spaces with like-minded people, Co.Unity is the ideal choice. Contact us today to learn more about our co-working spaces in Hermanus.

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