Coworking in the New Normal


There has been much speculation around what is in store for us post lockdown.

We certainly aren’t there yet, but with the country moving into the next stage of restrictions easing, we can start to see a twinkle of light at the end of the tunnel.

Even though we don’t know for sure what life will be like, ‘business as usual’ won’t be on the table. Even after restrictions start to lift, we will face a ‘new normal’.

“In this unprecedented new reality, we will witness a dramatic restructuring of the economic and social order in which business and society have traditionally operated. And in the near future, we will see the beginning of discussion and debate about what the next normal could entail and how sharply its contours will diverge from those that previously shaped our lives.” – McKinsey & Company

COVID-19 derives from the Coronavirus family, which causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Transmitted between animals and people, the focus today is on how to contain the spread of the virus.

Regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding close contact with anyone showing signs of the illness, are just some of the recommended ways to prevent infection from spreading.

With this comes strict health measures that offices and workplaces need to adhere to, to keep their staff and customers safe.

What do we know about the ‘new normal’ so far?

Along with talks of a deep recession, and unemployment rates rising, what we know for sure is that the social distancing regulation will reside with us for quite some time.

The world we knew pre-COVID-19, will be quite different with social distancing measures and hygiene regulations being the critical changes seen throughout workplace environments.

Stores will follow suit of supermarkets that remained open during the crisis, with 2-metre queues, one way systems, plastic screens at the cash desks, and staff provided with PPE. We should also expect to see a reduced intake of cash payments.

Pubs, restaurants, and cafes, will have to rethink their layouts, to guarantee they can cooperate with the regulations, ensuring customers and staff can follow the 2-metre guidelines. As a means out of lockdown, some establishments have adapted to provide a takeaway only option for the time being.

Schools will also be quite different with reduced class sizes, staggered breaks, increased cleaning routines, and a reduction in shared items. Our salon services will also be a distinctive experience with service providers advised wearing face masks and plastic face shields while working within 2-metres of a client.

With many other businesses being affected in similar ways, these are just some of the things we can expect to see over the coming months as we welcome the ‘new normal’.

“Steve Jobs, the genius behind much of Apple’s ramp-up to become one of the most profitable companies on the planet, said innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity, not as a threat” – Forbes 

What does this mean for coworking spaces? 

Coworking spaces are facing some unique challenges and changes due to COVID-19. With the uncertainty of how the virus spreads, social distancing restrictions, and increased cleaning measures will be at the forefront of workspaces’ minds to keep their staff and members safe. 

While there is still much uncertainty, you need to have a thorough understanding of what laws and regulations are being implemented by your local government, to be compliant. The UK has published a comprehensive guide to workplace safety, with best practices on everything ranging from sanitiser placement to handling on-site visits.

Now is an excellent opportunity to learn from other countries, that are ahead of us with post lockdown normality.

What we could expect to see on returning to our workplaces:

  • Limited access via specified doors
  • Hand sanitising stations
  • Increased hygiene routines 
  • One way systems where possible 
  • Limited kitchen facilities – if any at all 
  • Limited seating availability 
  • Spaced out desks to comply with 2-metre rule
  • Limited access to meeting rooms 
  • Restricted access to visitors and nonmembers 

It is vital to not just think about Coronavirus but also about future pathogens and the health of your prospective employees. We must rethink how we work and how we design our workspace to ensure we all stay healthy, efficient, and useful.

Some coworking spaces, around the world, have seen a few of their larger companies choosing to break down divisions into separate offices, to comply with social distancing rules.  

 Tips for dealing with change  

 Accept the situation

It may be easier said than done; however, to be able to adapt to change, we must first acknowledge and accept it. The sooner we recognise change is happening, the sooner we can act and adjust to this new reality. 

Taking action on daily tasks, that we are in charge of will help us achieve acceptance. These small, consistent efforts will be sufficient to leave us feeling more in control while expanding our comfort zones, helping us to be overall adaptable to change.  

Talk about problems, not feelings. 

Calling out our anxiety or anger surrounding transition is a good measure for moving forward. These feelings can distort our thinking about our given situation, so it is good to recognise them and act on them. 

We can also seek advice from a coworker, friend, or loved one when voicing our thinking. By focusing on our problems rather than our emotions, we can look to generate actionable steps to overcome the challenges at hand

Addressing our issues will help us to readjust and take on this new way of life. 

Focus on what can be controlled

By focusing on the tasks and responsibilities we have complete control over, we will be able to shift our mindset. This shift will leave us feeling happier and more fulfilled. 

We can help ourselves adapt by breaking big tasks down into smaller, more manageable parts. The key is to only focus on what we can control. 

Knowing and acting on what we can control will increase levels of personal satisfaction, even as we find our world conforming to this new normal. 

Maintain a positive attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude helps us to cope more easily with the daily affairs of life

A positive attitude can help us navigate constructive changes in our lives. This mindset change can encourage us to seek happiness, health, and a happy ending, regardless of the situation we face. 

The power of positivity supports our personal and professional growth, so even though we are dealing with difficult situations, we can find it easier to adapt to this ‘new normal’.

Take care

We must learn to be compassionate with ourselves, as dealing with change can be overwhelming and stressful

By checking in with ourselves from time to time, we can avoid burnout, while adapting to new environments.

Eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and taking adequate breaks are all simple things we can do to stay on top of ourselves. 

We must take care of both our physical and mental health, as we go through the challenging process of change.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways in which life will look different when we emerge from lockdown. From our professional to our personal lives, our days will not be the same as they were previously. 

However, with the right mindset and support around us, we will back up and running, ready to thrive in this new normal. 

From everyone here at Coherent, we hope you are safe and well.