How to Use Coworking Spaces to Restart Your Startup After Lockdown
Precisely what the workplace will resemble coming out of the COVID-19 lockdown is not for certain. In several recent blog posts, I have argued that the lockdown is the event to finally deconstruct the believe by too many businesses and managers that permanent in-office workspace where workers come five days a week and from which they work eight or more hours a day is a requisite. Lacking a trust in the workers they vetted and hired and fixation on the need for permanent offices, these businesses went kicking and screaming into the digital era.
Permanent In-Office Workspace Fades
But what they feared simply did not come to fruition when COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect. Indeed, the opposite happened. Worker productivity actually went up; they are more engaged and working more hours than when in the office. And this happened with virtually no prior preparation or planning—with many businesses being thrust into moving their workforces from permanent in-office space to home offices almost overnight. Thus, with nearly three months under our belt, the initial results are quite promising.
COVID-19 created significant disruption for many startups. Already tight cash flows were halted or stretched to breaking points, staff had to be laid off, and product development was delayed. One of the repercussions of COVID-19 is the recognition that permanent office space is expensive. On-demand workspace such as coworking space has always held a significant edge over permanent workspace when it comes to cost. Certain staff for some startups require a high level of supervision—which typically requires an in-office arrangement. Some workers will prefer to return to an office environment. Finally, while many others will want to retain their work-from-home agreements, some face-to-face interaction may be needed in their roles.
Using Coworking Space to Restart a Startup After Lockdown
Coworking space has significant benefits for startups seeking a launching pad coming out of the COVID-19 lockdown. Following are some of the most prevalent startup use cases for coworking space.
Reduce or Eliminate Permanent In-Office Workspace Costs
Expensive leased office workspace is likely on the chopping block for many startups. Workspace went unused for nearly three months. But the bills kept on coming. Suddenly, the requirements to have in-office workspace do not look as great as they did before COVID-19. Startups can reduce their overhead and increase their margins by moving some or all of their workers to virtual offices or hybrid workspace arrangements. As working space is typically available per hour, half day, full day, or weekly basis, startups can dramatically reduce their workplace expenses by moving fully to a coworking space arrangement where workers use coworking space as well as work-from-home arrangement.
Coach Junior Employees and Direct Sales/Support Teams
Not every member of a startup team thrives when working from home. New college graduates and teams measured on their sales and support outreach often need coaching and even more direct management. But expensive permanent office space is not required to do so. Coworking space offers startups an affordable option for managers to coach and meet with members of their team—from every day to every several days.
Facilitate Project Team Meetups
Project teams often do not need to meet on a daily basis. And with many project teams consisting of freelancers as well as third-party vendor teams, coworking spaces are a great place for status checks, brainstorming sessions, collaboration, and more. In the case of startups with permanent office space, they may not have adequate space for the entire project team to meet, and coworking space is an excellent option. For startups without permanent office space, a coworking space is hands down better than a hotel conference room or a public meeting space like a coffee shop.
Coordinate Team Meetings and Resources
Startups require a physical location for periodic team meetings and coordination of resources. Those without a permanent office location can use coworking spaces—that are centrally located for their entire teams—for these periodic meetings. And with rented meeting rooms available with most coworking spaces, startups have an additional plus if they require a more private setting for meetings.
Engage with Other Startups
One of the factors startups cite regularly that they like when it comes to coworking space is the opportunity to interact with other businesses in the coworking spaces. These interactions produce new business opportunities and the chance to develop partnerships that drive new revenue opportunities for both businesses.
Tap Educational Opportunities
Community managers for many coworking spaces facilitate reoccurring meetings with members where various members or external parties present on topics that provide educational guidance in areas where the majority of coworking space members are unfamiliar. The possibilities are myriad: content strategies for startups, demand-generation marketing programs, building blocks to effective customer service, raising capital, technology tools that drive efficiency, and many others.
Rev Up Your Engines: Leverage Coworking Space
It has been a very difficult almost three months for many startups. As lockdowns begin to lift and different states, counties, and cities move through the different phases to open up their economies, startups will need to regain the momentum they had before the advent of COVID-19. Many will be remaking their businesses—from their business strategy to where and how employees work. Before COVID-19 hit, coworking space was projected to increase more than 40% worldwide. This is expected to accelerate post-COVID-19—and startups will certainly be at the forefront of using coworking spaces, which offer startups a cost-effective opportunity to move beyond the shackles of a permanent office location.