With the majority of the world entering eight months and counting of work-from-home, the long-term effects of the once considered short-term solution are blatant. While some workers may have adjusted to the new setup, the lifestyle has also proved mentally and physically taxing on a wide-range of age groups and professions—from the college student to the CEO.
“I have a lot of distractions at home and there is no separation of work and home life, which for me, mentally, was challenging since I am used to a constant routine of a commute and an office life,” says Matthew Liptak, director of talent acquisition at a large local software company in Massachusetts, who reverted to a membership at Workbar after two months of working from home.
Workbar is a Boston-based remote co-working hub that offers private offices, meeting rooms and a variety of workspaces for their members. The pandemic motivated Workbar to promote new memberships as the world slowly began re-opening, based on the demand of workers who felt their work-from-home situation was no longer productive and requests from companies for a safe place for employees. As a result, Workbar introduced an hourly membership, a 10-day a month membership and a college membership to appeal to the range of society affected by workplace restrictions and limited productive spaces.
“Working from home doesn’t work for most people; you need to have the perfect situation to make it a productive day,” says Sarah Travers, CEO of Workbar. “We’ve found a lot of larger companies promoting and encouraging their workers to come and use spaces like Workbar out in the suburbs.”
Travers explains an uptick in first time memberships as employers navigate the needs of their employees and the new normal.
“This is a whole new world for them, they’ve never had to consider what mobile, flexible options looked like,” says Travers. “The power has shifted into the hands of the employee to demand a safe, productive place outside of the home, saying, you need to provide that for me or I’ll go someplace else that will provide that for me.”
On the other end of the spectrum, college students are also seeking safe, productive spaces to study outside of their dormitories, while campus common areas, including libraries, remain closed though classes are back in session.
Yet, somewhere in between the CEO and the college student, there’s a demographic that coworking spaces are striving to tap to become entirely inclusive; something the pandemic accelerated. Travers explains, “We’re looking past the millennials into Gen Z and beyond, to focus on creating the right environment for that workforce to enter.”
So what does this mean for the future? With the on-demand economy previously on the rise, from rideshare apps to entertainment and delivery services, it doesn’t seem too far off that on-demand workspaces would also flourish, in fact, it’s almost surprising they haven’t already.
“I think the days of working nine-to-five, Monday through Friday, in a central business hub are over,” shares Travers before concluding, “On-demand is the new future.”