Employees all over the world are returning to work under safe working conditions after weeks of restrictions. After all this time, many have felt the effects of working from home. Getting out of bed and going into meetings in the next room was one perk of working from home, but, for many, the excitement didn’t last.
Pre pandemic, working from home was an option. During the growing pandemic and restrictions, working from home became mandatory, and people started getting tired of it. You miss your office space with all of your personal touches on your desk, the balance of work-life and home life, and more importantly, you miss interacting with people.
This is not only hard on people’s mental health but it can also have a negative impact on businesses. Small business owners rely heavily on social interactions to propel their companies. Since the restrictions have eased, there have been multiple meetings between small or big business owners at coworking locations.
Why Community is So important
How often have you said, “I can just do it myself?”
There’s a common response that many of us have to just step in and take control of a situation when things aren’t going the way they’re supposed to.
Sometimes we are the best person to handle a situation, but probably less often than we think. Communities play an important role in every part of our lives. We have communities in our friends, our families, our employment, our neighborhoods, and so many other places. We find community in the hobbies we support, or the food we enjoy, even the tv shows that we like. Having a sense of community unites us. Being a part of a community can make us feel as though we are a part of something greater than ourselves. It can give us opportunities to connect with people, to reach for our goals, and makes us feel safe and secure.
There are many of us that just can’t create the same connection that you get in person over a slack message or over the phone. We don’t get to experience all of the emotion and gestures that come with interacting in person, unless you’re on a Zoom call, but still- it’s just not the same. You may think that body language doesn’t come into play for this comparison, since, technically, you should be able to “see” someone through a video call. However, there are subtle body language cues that are much easier to pick up in person, like where the feet are pointed, what the arms and hands are doing, and how near someone is to you. When we have a physical presence in a room, we express ourselves with much more than our words. That’s important for audience members (when it applies) to understand the speaker fully, and for the speaker to understand how the audience is receiving his or her message.
Introductions on video calls tend to be awkward – you’re not with the other person physically, so you feel the need to identify yourself in a more intricate way in order to establish trust. When you meet with a group in-person, it’s easier to understand the context, and you don’t need to clear that journey of trust the way you do while on a video call. Ever talk over someone when you thought they were done talking on a video conference? (“I’m sorry you go ahead,” “No, you.”) See how that doesn’t happen nearly as often in-person? We’re hardwired to understand the intricacies and intent of a conversation, but that doesn’t translate nearly as well through a screen.
Another elephant in the room in the video conference vs. face-to-face meeting debate: technical problems always seem to happen at the worst time. The amount of time you spend troubleshooting those issues kills the time you have to make your point or close that deal. Sometimes, there are unspoken issues such as if there are only a few attendees videoconferencing in, they can sometimes feel left out and refrain from speaking up if they have something to say or their internet connection was lost, for fear of interrupting the meeting. So let’s be real, we can eliminate those issues by having in-person conversations. Luckily if the wifi is down, you still have that time to create connections while you’re waiting which if that happened on a video conference, they simply aren’t there anymore.
Lastly, sometimes we enjoy getting “presentable” since we are around other people and can quickly get sick of wearing pajamas all day for work or in general. We take these things for granted at first since we have a newfound sense of freedom being out of the office but it takes a pandemic to make you understand what it’s like without it.
What can be done?
With so many business owners being strapped for cash during the pandemic, they could be looking to downsize their location or just simply find a smaller place. Business owners everywhere are moving their teams into coworking spaces for a more traditional office environment and for cheaper rent.
Many coworking spaces offer entire suites to accommodate teams from 2- 40 people, so it’s no wonder that people are making the switch. These coworking spaces are up to date on all of the latest social distancing guidelines, so you can rest assured that your team is safe and properly distanced. In addition, you have a common room and a kitchen, along with tons of printers and fax machines when you need them. Did we mention unlimited beverages and super fast wifi? All of that is included in your rent which still comes out to a cheaper price than before when you were using multiple different companies.
You’re probably wondering where you will host all of your clients. Coworking spaces are loaded with meeting rooms fully equipped with projectors, whiteboards, and anything else you would need.
The community in coworking spaces has been a strong one from the start, but going through the (in some cases) traumatic experience of being kept at home and isolated during a global crisis, made the community even stronger and more close-knit.
This is a great time to show your employees and coworkers you care because you’re not alone in feeling, well, alone.
There is nothing quite like human interactions in well-designed spaces to inspire innovation, ideas, and community.