Although co-working is not a new concept, the global pandemic has certainly increased the need for re-thinking the way that people do business. We have already seen the impact of COVID-19 on our local economy and we will continue to see our economy affected, at least in the short term.
Lockdown restrictions have had an effect on everything, from completely eliminating foreign tourism, to reducing revenue in restaurants due to the ban on alcohol. Support local has been promoted, residents who can afford to do so are doing whatever they can to support local businesses. The real challenge, however, is that many local residents’ income has been affected and this means that many are no longer able to afford to spend money dining out or buying more products than are necessary.
Instead of asking how we can support local businesses through purchases, I have been asking a slightly different question: how do we grow our local economy and bring more money into our town? The answer to this question could lie in co-working and the need to grow different services and industries aside from hospitality, tourism and related businesses.
How Co-Working Helps Local Economies
In the last three weeks since our Co.Unity workspaces opened, I have seen many collaborations starting to form between various businesses. IT service providers are collaborating with specialist online marketing and SEO agencies, software developers are connecting with entrepreneurs who have ideas on how to create peer-to-peer services platforms and many other collaborations have been opening up new opportunities, and potentially new businesses.
Co-working in itself is designed to not only offer a fully remote way to work. It also helps to bring people together in shared workspaces. These collaborations and connections might just be the answer we have been looking for, offering a way to find new opportunities through the digital economy, which we know has no boundaries. As these new businesses start to grow, the need for new skilled labour grows, leading to new job opportunities within our town. This, in turn, helps to grow the economy as well.
What we are seeing at Co.Unity is a demand for space where people can work but also interact with likeminded people who are looking to grow their businesses. Having access to a space that offers reliable business WiFi with a fibre connection , along with an inviting environment that is conducive to productivity and networking is the ideal solution for many people working remotely. Most of the people working in our shared workspace say that there is huge value in keeping work separate from home and shared workspaces help make this work-life balance far easier.
For collaborations, meetings and get-togethers, our boardroom offers an element of privacy and professionalism. Thanks to its availability to rent by the hour, it is starting to gain popularity. We are also able to offer catering for meetings if required. To further increase and inspire collaboration, we will be hosting evenings of interest, with speakers sharing their stories of successes and failures and plenty of opportunity for networking. Our goal is to grow a network of new businesses, connecting entrepreneurs with talented service providers to create new ventures.
We believe that the future for Hermanus is bright. We have seen that there is a lot of hidden talent to be found within our town. It’s time to get this talent together, creating opportunities and new businesses that will support and grow the local economy.
Keen to know more about shared workspaces? Contact us today to find out how to get started with co-working in Hermanus.