Coworking spaces will step up to meet the needs of a transformed workforce in Spokane.
This week, the newsfeed has been filled with articles about the return-to-work dilemmas for everyone from teachers to tech workers to entrepreneurs. Corporate leaders are navigating uncharted waters to retain their best employees and return to profitability. Meanwhile, the commercial real estate industry is faced with acres and acres of empty office space as leases go unrenewed by those uncertain corporate leaders. Best practices? What does that even mean anymore?
At Liberty Lake Coworking, Ann Long notes the spike in people moving to Spokane because remote workers now have the benefit of living where they want. She said, “We are seeing a major shift in traditional office space throughout the country. Employers are tossing aside the old playbooks to explore ways to offer flexibility for their employees.”
“Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021,” says Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics in a recent article. “A typical employer can save about $11,000 per year for every person who works remotely half of the time. Employees can save between $2,500 and $4,000 a year (working remotely half the time) and even more if they are able to move to a less expensive area and work remotely full time.”
Along with cost savings and concerns about productivity, a common thread in these articles is a new focus on purpose. In his popular 2011 book, Start With Why, author Simon Sinek draws a Golden Circle with “What” on the outer ring and “How” on the middle concentric ring. In the center is “Why” – and it is this existential question that workers are considering more than ever.
- Wow. Did I really use to sit in traffic for that long? Why was that ok with me?
- Why did we spend so much money on after-school childcare?
- What a nice hometown we have! Maybe I should spend more time here.
- Why was I so resistant to allow our employees to work from home? Clearly, flexibility is a perk that they value.
On the other hand, the reality of working from home is not the best option for everyone, every day. There may be household distractions, insufficient broadband or space constraints. But remote work doesn’t have to mean work from home. Enter the Third Space, defined as locations where we exchange ideas, have a good time, and build relationships.
Third spaces are also emerging to meet the demand for good quality workplaces. Here in the Spokane area, you might find workers spilling out of coffee shops or enjoying some lunch while working at the local sandwich shop. While these places offer some of the amenities of the office, like big tables and adequate wifi, they aren’t really designed for productive work.
Beyond productivity, shops and restaurants aren’t designed to make connections with other people. In a recent article in The Atlantic, Harvard’s Arthur C. Brooks cites a study produced by Buffer: “Loneliness is the biggest struggle remote workers say they face, tied with problems of collaboration and communication. Work is where many people have the bulk of their social interactions.” In fact, creating spaces where people can collaborate and get to know each other doesn’t happen by accident. It is intentional, necessary and evolving.
“At Liberty Lake Coworking, we are continually evaluating the needs of our whole community so we can respond to the needs of our members,” Long adds. “We watch the trends carefully and look for ways to improve the overall experience.
If you need a space that is designed for productivity and programmed for human connection, please schedule a tour. Be sure to ask about our Flexible Membership Plans. Whether you need a place to work for the day, week or month, we have a plan that will fit your needs.