Working professionals spend a considerable part of their daily lives in offices. And in a connected world company expect employees to respond in real time even when they are an outside office. No wonder a nine-hour job is a thing of the past. Even as employees are toiling more they are getting more conscious about health and the environment. The problems could be compounded by the stress of long working hours and after hours spent on office work.
To cope with the blurring boundaries between work and life, employees look for jobs that offer a perfect balance between the two. As India’s economy picks pace with new investments on the uptick, companies want the best talent. They compete for that scarce talent with global peers. As much as employers would like employees to start delivering much like plug and play devices they offer, companies have realized that humans are not robots and need the right conditions for optimum performance.
That’s where co-working spaces make for a compelling option for the digital, AI, ML (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning respectively), algorithm era workers. It works as a nice fit as companies don’t have time to spend their energies on thinking about the ideal workspace. Even as they look for top-notch specialists to deliver they can leave the innovation around workspaces to experts.
Coworking spaces defining optimum levels of work & life
The idea of co-working space is not just to ensure that the burden of real estate is being taken care of by a third party with flexibility to expand or reduce workstations as per needs, but encompasses much more.
Co-working providers employ psychologists and office design specialists armed with adequate knowhow as to what’s best suited for marketing, coding, research, finance and other such roles across multiple industries — be it e-commerce, digital technologies, IT services, telecom, manufacturing and so on.
This know-how goes a long way in ensuring that knowledge workers are in an environment that alleviates stress, reduces burnouts and promotes healthy retention. Besides acting as a hook to attract the right talent.
Shared spaces are designed in a way that accounts for multiple things. For instance, the importance of natural light to worker productivity and health; right ergonomics; best use of space and ample consideration to employee needs — like gym, breakrooms, gaming areas and so on. The latest we have added is the crèche facility for 2 months to 3 years child with nourishing food. In a survey, we found that the employees indeed were delighted with this and have voted maximum for this facility. This will ensure that Fitbits, health apps on smartphones and other health monitoring devices that millennials prefer to use are also put to good use while at work.
Co-working offices take care of all aspects of human life
Access to the gym at work helps take away the stress of looking for a membership for today’s health-conscious employees. While the right amount of natural light is known to decrease headaches and stimulate the mind. An office designed in such a way that workstations — where most of the time will be spent are closer to windows. Clever use of open spaces and corridors with the right kinds of indoor plants, easy access to shared facilities like printers and coffee vending machines and ensuring Wi-Fi signal is available across the floor ensures that employees don’t grapple with mundane challenges.
Such spaces are created keeping in mind the need for the ideal working conditions and hence are designed to reduce stress, support the physical and mental welfare of employees and encourage healthy habits. Pressures of today’s jobs where competition is high and employees are expected to respond in real time to any issue calls for innovative space management with a deep understanding of human behaviour. This is where co-working scores as they bring the knowledge of having created multiple such environments and understanding the unique needs of different sectors and jobs.
According to Global Co-working Unconference Conference (GCUC), the number of co-working members will grow globally from 1.74 million in 2017 to 5.1 million by 2022. In recent years the Asia Pacific including India has seen significant demand in co-working space (a trend that started in the US and Europe initially) and this continues to increase.
It’s like giving an upgrade to both work and life. According to a recent survey, over 71% of co-workers said they are more relaxed at home after joining a co-working space, they get to socialize and talk about work with people from multiple companies during the day without missing out on the essentials like a salubrious environment, time & place to work-out, reduced stress and improved outcomes. No wonder many workers feel they are healthier and have better personal lives.
Happier employees tend to be more open to responding to alerts from office even outside working hours — be it answering emails, messages or responding to an emergency while away from work. The motivation for this comes easily if companies are careful in assessing and providing for their work and life needs. It may not find mention in the P&L (profit & loss) statement, but a key factor working behind the scenes to ensure that the statement looks great quarter-after-quarter.