The ‘great resignation‘ has been going on for over 2 years now. Many former employees have taken the leap of faith into freelancing or a different kind of job. People are listening to their renewed aspirations following the change in mindset surrounding their wants and needs in the workplace. This change has led to a more communal corporate office space, with a lot of them shifting from a traditional office to a more flexible approach.
However, the transition to a more mobile working area and the dramatic rise in remote workers is not going to fade away. Quite the opposite: corporate coworking and a more flexible approach to work is here to stay for good.
The pressure of the company’s board, the battle for talent acquisition, and a higher level of employee engagement are all reasons for a drastic change in the corporate office landscape.
And that’s the situation we find ourselves in right now, corporate offices seeking a new way of accompanying their worker’s needs to work how and where they want. That is why this year, corporate offices will take massive leaps into changing their workflow formula by offering extra benefits such as coworking spaces.
Although this transition has been coming, a global lockdown has helped push the balance of power away from the employer toward the employee. Find out why corporate offices are making this change and how they are adapting to this ‘new way of working’.
1. Retaining talent is more important than ever.
The job market is changing rapidly from a job-oriented market to talent/team-oriented one. Executives and CEOs feel more pressured than before to change the workflows for the employers and to retain their talent by doing so. In the past years, the employee adapted to the ideology of the company. Now, it’s the other way around. Companies need to especially focus on the psychical/mental health and well-being of their people. Still clinging to the traditional way of leadership and work processes will have a lot of employees resign as a consequence. Traditional leadership is seen as the 40-hour-a-week, drive to work, physical meetings type of work, which does not cut in anymore in a lot of businesses.
Employers are aware of this problem and that’s why they are searching for the perfect solution: flexibility for their workers while still incorporating the unity of an office.
The dispute for talent has seen a change in the values of the bigger companies, with a lot of them needing to adjust to a more versatile regime. Working from home due to the global pandemic has paved the way for flexible work to be more accessible to most workers.
However, the other side of the coin is that this has led to a more saturated balance between work and private life. This ultimately is unhealthy in its own way due to an unregulated work schedule and therefore not taking the necessary time off of work. All of a sudden, sending a few emails after 19:00 was not uncommon.
Because of this newly found problem, corporate offices are trying to achieve a higher level of employee engagement. Corporate offices and companies alike will have to implement engaging communal environments for their remote workers. Most commonly, these are presented in a coworking space type manner. These could either be in-office or at an external coworking space with multiple locations to accompany the employee’s need for a more flexible working location.
2. Employee power has increased.
Employees and remote workers have expressed their desire to work more flexibly when searching for a new position, in fact, 88% of employees and remote workers say that they will seek a more flexible schedule and workplace in their next job.
More and more employees find their life stage/style more important than proximity to work: 76% say they would rather receive a lower salary in exchange for flexibility based on their life stage/style, as per Havard Business Review. Whereas before, the salary and the job description was the key factor.
The talent pool is shrinking in almost every industry: 54% of companies say they have never had so many vacancies. This is mainly due to the fact that many former employees decided to start freelancing. And the employees that do remain employed have the upper hand nowadays because of the difficulty for companies to fill specific positions due to the lack of talent in the pool (USAtoday).
Employees want a better balance between work & personal life, more flexibility, and a higher quality of life and well-being. These demands have led to a change in power towards the employees. Corporate offices must adapt to this or risk letting their staff walk: 30% of employees said they would resign if the company asked them to come to the office full-time, according to USAtoday.
Companies are expected to listen to their terms and embrace them but still give their remote workers the chance to come to the office. The return to the office or coworking space with colleagues on a voluntary basis can be a great step for workers to realise that there are great aspects of their job. All of a sudden, they are looking forward to that lunch with that specific colleague or they want to collaborate on a project together.
That social component will be the driving force for workers to return to communal workspaces, whether that’s a coworking space or the office (Mckinsey).
3. People want corporate offices to adapt, retrospectively.
After trying remote working in 2020 and 2021 due to the global pandemic, more and more employees found the flexibility of scheduling their own working hours very pleasant. They came to realise that adjusting their schedule to take the children to swimming lessons themselves for example was not the end of the world, something that could never have been imagined years earlier (CBRE).
This transition changed the approach of the office manager: previously, the office determined what time you started, what time you had your break, and sometimes even what you had to wear. The pandemic meant that these rules all had to be scrapped: people had to work from home and the corporates had to relinquish control for everyone’s safety.
This has also opened the eyes of many employees that unknowingly wanted change: working with a remote team or even a remote job has seen an incredible rise in popularity. Which resulted in an incredible amount of people resigning their functions, dubbed ‘the great resignation’.
Although the change of control over employees was mandatory at the time, it has seen an incredibly positive effect on people’s well-being and state of mind. Making us wonder, why have we all been stuck in traffic every day, driving to a building to work in a cubicle for 40 hours a week?
4. A structured work schedule does not always mean success.
The 9 to 5 concept has been a favorite for corporates around the world for over 100 years now. This daily 8-hour routine was first seen put into place by Henry Ford in his automobile factories as a result of unrested employees working 10 hours every day for 6 days per week. The notion spread quickly because of its consistency for both the workers and the corporate offices. And soon after, most companies worked with this system.
And even today, this well-known work schedule is still in place in most corporate offices even though most jobs don’t necessarily need a structured work schedule and location. Back in the day, working from home was not an option due to the machinery being in the factory, you had to be there to be able to do your job. But these days, most jobs can be done from anywhere as long as they have a laptop and wifi (history).
Ever since the pandemic, employees have been able to be more flexible in where and how they work. This has resulted in a shift in mindset towards a more goal-driven state of mind instead of going to the office just for the sake of it (okta).
Employees expect a change in how their work is measured and where they can work. The quality of work is becoming more important than the amount of work done, especially because the amount of work is mostly counted in hours at the office.
Corporate offices are acknowledging this: being present in the office does not lead to productivity, in fact, the opposite: remote workers have been found to be more efficient with their time, to be more productive in the time they work, and actually work almost an hour more than office workers (Forbes). However, this often results in employees spending more time on work activities when working from home, as they are already at home, thus doing private and work activities simultaneously. Their social interactions suffer as a result, which is not good either.
This is where coworking spaces come into play: coworking spaces are the combination of remote/hybrid working & the social aspect and togetherness of office life. Giving your employees the option to not only work from home but also work at a coworking space is a great way of accommodating the needs of employees.
It’s not surprising that several large companies have made the permanent transition to a hybrid work model for employees because of this. Reddit, Spotify, and Twitter all give the option to work from home or at the office. Whilst companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google have been implementing this style of work for a longer period.
These corporate offices have incorporated these changes to accommodate the increasing desire of workers to work however they want. This is especially true with the next generation of workers. That besides the location, also take environment-friendly actions into account (CNBC).
5. Work environment is changing with the next generation of workers.
Throughout the different generations, the work environment and decision-making changed. For example, millennials want sturdy fringe benefits. While baby boomers love loyalty and a more traditional approach.
The next generation of workers (currently between 16-and 25 years old) likes to work together through traditional communication, which can come as a shock to the older generations. A face-to-face workplace still has the upper hand for this generation, driven by collaboration and cooperation.
- 81% of Generation Z (16 to 25) think social and community spaces are important in a work environment.
In addition, technology is the identity of this group and they are digitally very savvy. This is the first generation that completely grew up in the digital world and what makes them different is that they are more ‘connected’ with electronics, social & multimedia, and a digital work atmosphere. Therefore, smart offices will not just be popular but crucial for this generation. The next generation of workers need to be able to work the way they live their everyday life: connected and online. Multiple offices have already adapted to this mainly because the tech is more accessible.
Online workspaces, digital casting, online meeting rooms, and video-call rooms are all examples of the changes that have been implemented in the workspace. But apart from the tech that their employers use, there is a way more important matter for this generation: the company’s footprint.
Young workers prefer to work for a company that operates ethically and sustainably, here they are even willing to earn less. As a result, sustainability has become a key factor in determining where this group is employed. Coworking spaces are the ultimate example of this: the sharing economy is here and it is not going away. By sharing daily work aspects, a large part of the basic waste can be reduced on the work floor (goodworks).
”Generation Z is 77% more likely to choose an employer who thinks the same way as them about climate change.(HRreview)
Also, literal metres are shared: several companies are working under the same roof where normally only one company would be working. Thus, a coworking space promotes the use of less space for the same purpose.
Working together also stimulates collaboration, corporate offices employees get into contact with other coworkers or remote workers in these communal spaces. These connections can develop into beneficial collaborations for both parties.
6. Companies are creating ecosystems.
Coworking spaces are mainly occupied by freelancers and digital nomads. These individuals need larger companies for services and these larger companies can benefit from freelancers for smaller, more specific jobs. This transaction between these two parties creates an ecosystem. An ecosystem that thrives in a place like a coworking space, due to its abundance of freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs and SMEs are always looking for a better-equipped company to outsource a specific part of its services. On the other hand, multinationals are better off hiring a freelancer for a specific project for example than proceeding with the hiring process for this one job. These two companies can help each other to grow in areas they couldn’t without each other.
Networking and collaboration are a few of the key pillars for freelancers (if you’re interested in coworking for freelancers, read this other blog). Therefore, engaging in the coworking community will automatically start when working. This exchange between companies and individuals is extremely stimulated by the shared workspace.
And, coworking spaces attract a big variety of freelancing sectors: HR, IT, marketing, and advertisement or sales, coworking spaces have a big pool of talent for any company.
7. Cost Efficiency
Corporate offices are now more concerned than ever with cutting costs. Operational issues such as printing less and using fewer cups will certainly help, but the biggest number comes from the sky-high office rents and long compliance contracts.
The biggest difference in costs between traditional offices and coworking spaces is the monthly subscription price that covers everything.
Internet, printing paper, chairs, and of course coffee: just think of the amount of coffee consumed each day in a traditional office; here alone a lot of money can be saved every month. From a private office, a fixed desk, or a flexible plan in multiple locations, coworking is almost always cheaper.
It has been proven that a coworking space for larger companies like corporates can save up to 20% on their monthly costs compared to a traditional office.
In addition, scaling up or down is also much easier in a coworking space due to the flexibility of the spaces and contracts. A new desk and chair are easier to move if the space rented is determined by the number of people or chairs needed. This means that there are no consequences if there is a change in the number of employees. Corporate offices and coworking spaces are a better fit now than ever before. More and more coworking spaces are incorporating private offices into their plans and spaces.
In conclusion, where coworking used to be a place for freelancers and startups, it has been transforming into the perfect flexible office for corporate offices that want to retain their talent, reduce their emissions, lower their costs, and stimulate collaborations whilst still keeping that company unity.
Besides that, coworking spaces are very versatile in their services for corporate offices. A private office can accommodate the whole team, hot desking can satisfy just a few colleagues abroad for example and fixed offices can be arranged for a small team. Whatever it is, coworking is changing the corporate office landscape in 2022.