How coworking spaces can take advantage of the hybrid model

Since March 2020, we have been experimenting working from home all around the World.»This experience is not being as good as we could expected. Recent studies about this topic show that most of the people that is working at home feels isolation as the main pain, and productivity, and engagement with the company as the big challenges. On the positive side, no need of commuting and a better balance between work and personal life are perceived as bright aspects.

Despite the undoubtable benefits, the feeling of isolation may be so intense and may end in other psychological problems. In addition, innovation and synergies are easier to happen with people interact face-to-face. Unfortunately, for the last year, we have almost lost all these kind of contacts.

Most surveys show that, in average, just 15% of the employees want to stay at home all the week, around 29% want to work from home 2-3 days per week and 56% want to stay at home just 1 day or less. So, it seems that office spaces are not condemned to disappear in spite of what many people claimed for months.

From the side of the managers and directors, they are expecting more employees choosing remote work and ubiquity to work after pandemic. There is not specific answer to this open request yet.

So, what it is clear is that the full-time physical office model is dead and a hybrid model seems to be in a good position to be an alternative. Let’s see how coworking spaces fit in the hybrid model.

What is a hybrid model?

There is a high risk of becoming “hybrid model” in a buzzword if it is not so already. Nevertheless, it makes us set a strong idea about a new concept that should mix different elements. So, let’s try to get a first definition.

The hybrid model: offices, home and coworking spaces.

The hybrid model, talking about how we work, might be the combination between the work at home and the work in the corporate office or even a “third space”. It seems easy but it is not because it has lot of deep implications.  Companies must adapt their spaces to  make them suitable for a new purpose, meet the preferences of their employees, match the culture, the sector, the vision of the CEO, etc. It starts to seem a difficult puzzle.

On the basis, the new model, the hybrid one, must mix all these factors to create the perfect fit between needs and preferences of all the involved stakeholders involved.

How coworking spaces fit in the hybrid model

The main reasons that employees give to work at home is not commuting and being able to conciliate work with personal life. But, in fact most of them are not happy being at home because of isolation.

Usually, companies have their big buildings in the suburbs or even in the city center, while employees live where thay want or can, many times, not close to their workplaces. That means that employees spend between 30 to 90 minutes in commuting by workday. Moreover, companies are not able to have different offices spread in the city to make them more convenient for their employees.  It seems that in a hybrid model, makes sense to have a new and extra workspace, part from home and the official workplace, that is closer to at the employee’s home but without being at home. This is known as “third space”. 

Therefore, coworking spaces or other arrangeable spaces (coffeehouses, libraries, etc) may be a great option to face this issue, addressing both companies and employees needs. Of course, these “third spaces” must show basic infrastructure and conditions to do so.

Once we have identified a potential alternative, why we are saying they are a suitable option. Let’s dive deeper.

The main benefits for employees are:

  • Spaces are closer to their homes so they save time on commuting and earn time for their own.
  • Employees going to a separate and specific space to work apart from their home.
  • People find a space to be more focus on their job without home distractions.

Analyzing the main benefits for companies are:

  • Employees may broaden their network that enriches both sides (potential new clients, new solutions or just by being inspiring by others).
  • Innovation may happen when people share talks, spaces and interact and change their routine.
  • Flexible and predictable cost (pay per use model).
  • Can be considered part of the variable retribution.

Is there a real opportunity for coworking spaces of being the third space?

And the answer is yes, of course. They have all what is needed to be one.

Indeed, coworking spaces are flex offices where people were working before the pandemic. So, nothing has changed except the mindset. People do not want to return to office as we knew. They want to be back to the regular office some days per week, that’s all. And they want to save time, not commuting and be focused on their individual task in a more convenient place. It may be our homes, sure although many times is not suitable or possible. Coworkings are a perfect place to work since they count with the proper infrastructure, the amenities and many other advantages as community and shared spaces to interact between users and feel less isolated.

Coworking Space also known for the hybrid model as the «third space».

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the work mindset forever. Flexibility and convenience are key elements in this new real. Two aspects that demand to coworkings and offices a strong control in the operational side to be efficient and address the actual needs of users for enhancing their experience. Once again, the technology has a role to be played.

Technology to control the use of the space and analyze people behavior inside the coworking area wil help flex spaces to manage the situation efficiently. For example, technology will:

  1. Permit coworkers do workstations and meeting room online reservations before going to the space, thanks to an actual real time information about the use of these spaces.
  2. Let coworkers know how crowded the space is to decide how convenient is each spaces for them.
  3. Allow coworkings a dynamic management for desks and meeting rooms or even apply a “yield management” approach to the bookings.
  4. Help coworkings know which are the underused areas and change their design or use to increase performance.

Whether you are a corporate or a coworking space, it is the perfect moment to evaluate your situation and bet strongly on technology to take the most of your spaces.