2020 will be remembered for a lot of things - COVID-19, face masks, toilet paper shortages across Bendigo - but it will also be remembered as the year we missed our co-workers more than we ever thought we would. Even the mildly annoying ones.
Many of us have realised that, while working from home has benefits, it can also be isolating and lonely in ways that a myriad of Zoom meetings can never compensate for. Coworking is more important than ever in the post-COVID world, as we emerge from this period of social isolation and seek to reconnect with our peers and colleagues in person.
Coworking gives back what COVID-19 has taken
COVID-19 has taken a lot from us this year, but coworking in a post-COVID world can start restoring some of those things that have been lost during the pandemic:
- Social interaction
- Physical meeting spaces
- Work-life balance
If COVID has proven anything, it’s that humans are very much social animals - and that those of us who claim to be introverts still need some level of human contact. Coworking spaces in the post COVID-world can provide meaningful contact in the form of guidance, mentorship, networking events, training programs, seminars and social events.
The coworking model is built on the assumption that people thrive when they are around other people, because it allows us to feel part of a community while having the space and autonomy to work independently. Socialising with peers (aka “getting on the beers” in the immortal words of Dan Andrews) is high on the list of things people have missed most during COVID.
Physical meeting spaces
Being able to meet in person matters. Think of all the valuable networking opportunities you get working from home: you can wave to the garbage-truck driver once a week, pat the dog when he comes seeking attention during yet another Zoom meeting or schedule a quick-debrief about the state of your kids’ education after they get home from school.
We all know that "Zoom fatigue" is real. Coworking spaces, on the other hand, are teeming with networking potential, as you share physical space and amenities with professionals in your industry. It’s a ready-made community where in-person connections are always being made, and you never know where a chance conversation over a cup of coffee might lead.
One of the biggest challenges that has been acknowledged during the COVID-19 pandemic is the impact that this crisis has had on people’s mental health. Lockdown restrictions have seen a huge surge in people working from home, which - while it has its benefits - also poses challenges in terms of work-life balance, loneliness and social isolation.
Coworking will be an important aspect of the post-COVID economy, as people return to shared workspaces again. No matter how nice your home is, staring at the same four walls for long periods of time is not healthy, particularly if you are a creative person who needs stimulation. Coworking offers a healthy change of scenery and companionship.
COVID-19 and coworking… both here to stay?
We can’t know what the future looks like, but it does seem like we will all need to co-exist with COVID-19 for an indefinite period, unless vaccines or new treatments are developed. For coworkers - like all other workers - this means a return to working together under the “new normal”, with social distancing and a range of other health measures in place.
While we can’t predict what will happen with COVID-19, we do predict that coworking is here to stay, even if it looks a bit different than it did before. The benefits that coworking offers - community, social connection, work-life balance - are needed now more than ever, and will be vital to our wellbeing as Bendigo takes a deep breath and steps into the post-COVID world.
Keen to take the plunge and try coworking? Visit our bookings page for more information about our hotdesks, studio space and event space.