Things may have been a little quieter at Spaces during the pandemic, but the business community you love is still here, and we can’t wait to have you back
What happens to a business community when it can no longer meet in one place? That was the question we, and many of our members, had to ask during the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns across the world. Thanks to technology, business was able to continue somewhat as usual – but many realised that the camaraderie of a coworking space was a lot harder to recreate in the digital sphere.
Now, as the world, and Spaces locations, slowly start to reopen, we take a brief look back at the last few months – and forward to an exciting new future.
Working at home… didn’t always work
While ‘working from home’ might have been an appealing prospect pre-pandemic, the practical experience of doing it for several months highlighted the downsides, including interruptions, a lack of suitable space, and even isolation and loneliness.
“The concept of working from home disrupts the clear separation of space [between home and work],” explained Professor Deepa Bapat, speaking to People Matters in March 2020. “[Your home], which has long been associated with feelings of relaxation and calm, suddenly bears connotations of work, stress and perhaps a whole host of other stress-provoking adjectives.”
“If you struggle with social anxiety, working from home can exacerbate that,” added Dr Lucy Atcheson, a London-based counselling psychologist. “Our comfort zones can become smaller and, as we get more confined, issues feel so much more on the surface.”
Business needs human interaction
Working from home wasn’t ideal for businesses either. The research is overwhelming: organisations run more smoothly when there is human interaction. As an example, research published in the Harvard Business Review shows that a face-to-face request is 34 times more successful than an email. When you’re not seeing someone, the chances of miscommunication between individuals and groups increase greatly,” says Michael Landers, a global business consultant and the author of “Culture Crossing: Discover the Key to Making Successful Connections in the New Global Era. “When we communicate just by phone, text or email, there’s so much more that’s open for interpretation.”
In terms of building work relationships, it can be hard to recreate the ‘down time’ during the workday or even during meetings, which – in a physical setting – is often used for bonding with colleagues and clients. In contrast to business conversations, which focus on problem-solving, business relationships are forged through getting to know one another. “Make use of not-so-small talk,” advises Silicon Valley CEO René Shimada Siegel. “Most business conversations are focused on solving a problem quickly and efficiently, while business relationships are built when people take the time to share and learn more about each other.”
Missing a sense of community
If you’ve been missing the sense of community that came from being in a coworking space, you’re not alone. In a Stanford School of Medicine study, doctors found that our bodies release a hormone called oxytocin when we socialise in person.
Community matters to our health: a recent Compass for Life survey from the Australian Psychological Society revealed Australians who developed strong relationships and were involved with their various communities are happier than those who chose to spend more time online, and on social media specifically.
And it’s good for businesses, too. As Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal, “For all of the beauty of technology and all the things we’ve helped facilitate over the years, nothing yet replaces human interaction.”
Coming back to work
The good news is that many of us can look forward to more interaction with the business community in the near future – albeit at a safe distance, of course. At Spaces, we’ve taken and adapted the principles of physical distancing for the workplace. This includes how people move around our locations and business clubs, with clear information, signage and measures in place to make sure there’s minimal person-to-person contact.
We’ve established a meeting room safety protocol in order to make sure that people can continue to use our meeting rooms. You’ll find spaced seating arrangements and signage to remind people of physical distancing, moving around clockwise, and maintaining a safe distance for catering.
Our business clubs have also been updated with seating arrangements and signage to make sure that you can work, meet and collaborate with your fellow community members.
Our dedicated global team of cleaning contractors, community managers, maintenance managers, account helpdesk coordinators, professional receptionists, IT engineers and many more are here to support you to run your business in the best and safest way possible.
So, whenever you’re ready to come back, we’ll be here. We can’t wait to see you again.
Welcome back. Find out how we’re adapting our services to provide cleaner and safer workspaces for the future