WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT VIRTUAL COWORKING?
While working from home is something only a few lucky employees could do pre-pandemic, communicating with each other remotely for work, exercise, and play is now the norm for many people. COVID-19 has changed how we do things and has affected how we work. Even as areas around the world have opened back up and returned to some level of normal, employees are balking at the idea of going back to their desks, and companies must adjust. Many workers find significant advantages to working remotely.
Some employees feel that working remotely increases their production and even their happiness levels. Others are thrilled with how much money they’re saving by not commuting or having to eat lunch and dinner out. The obvious advantage of just working from your home office in your sweatpants is hard to overlook. But there’s a flipside to working remotely that sometimes is a downfall.
While some people thrive working from home, others struggle with production levels because of distractions. Kids, pets, and even lack of motivation are some of the biggest distractions. Other employees feel isolated and even depressed from the lack of regular interaction with their coworkers. Fortunately, some solutions have been created to remedy these problems.
There is a difference between being alone and feeling lonely, and one solution to the loneliness felt by some remote workers is the concept of virtual coworking. Think about virtual coworking as having the ability to collaborate with your coworkers in a virtual world as though you were sitting next to them at the office, even though you haven’t left your home. It also helps to restore the sense of community lost from not encountering fellow employees in person every day. As the world continues to do more things online, virtual coworking is the future of work.
One fascinating aspect about coworking in a virtual space is that employees are no longer limited to interactions defined by their proximity. Workers from all over the world can communicate with each other any time of day. While nothing may ever replace an in-person interaction, there are many benefits to working with others in a virtual space. Here are a few to consider:
- Virtual coworking has no limits in terms of who it can connect. When we only worked at the home office, the way we connected with people outside those four walls was through phone calls and emails. When everyone is collaborating in a virtual space, there is no limit to who can be part of the workspace. You may be communicating virtually with someone on the other side of the city, state, or world. The extent this allows you to exchange ideas and gather feedback from others is limitless.
- Virtual coworking connects people who have similar goals. When you work with people in a physical office, you have less control over matching up with someone with similar goals as you. A virtual space allows you to have break out rooms and conferences that home in on the similar outcomes you are all trying to achieve. For example, perhaps you’re trying to fit exercise into your workday and can meet up with someone else who is also trying to accomplish the same to exchange ideas.
- Virtual coworking provides motivation and energy you can only get from others. Even if you’re the most driven person ever, sitting at home and staring at a computer for hours on end causes you to lose motivation at some point. There is a drive you gather from the energy of other people that is irreplaceable. A virtual workspace is a perfect solution to finding new inspirations from others on how to complete an assignment. This is especially true for the extroverts out there.
- Virtual coworking leads to more productivity. When you have more energy for work and are more motivated, this leads to accomplishing more tasks. Business owners find that when they move to shared workspaces online, their employees are more productive. Having this virtual space that mimics an in-person office helps people be less distracted by what’s going on around them at home.
- Virtual coworking is available 24/7. While keeping regular work hours has its advantages, the accessibility to working with others any time of the day is also useful. You have an work assignment that needs extra hours to finish, or an emergency comes up in the middle of your workday, so you’d like to come back and finish your work later. Since virtual coworking spaces seldom close, it frees you up to find others to connect with at odd hours of the day.
- Virtual coworking helps you maintain a work-life balance. One of the hardest aspects of working from home is not knowing where your work life stops, and your personal life begins. Logging into your virtual space and working alongside others helps you have a routine and keep focused on your work. And you can hold each other accountable to spend your time outside of work focused on other things. Shared workspaces also usually have some recreation rooms where you can go with coworkers to maintain the work-life balance even in the virtual world.
- Virtual coworking fuels creativity. Even if you’re extremely creative, it becomes difficult to keep coming up with ideas on your own. Having collaboration from others feeds the creative atmosphere. Workers can break out into spaces where they brainstorm and find inspiration from other people’s ideas. Another coworker’s thoughts can renew your own and help you create innovative solutions to issues standing in your way.
- Virtual coworking leads to more business or professional opportunities. When you’re sharing space in a coworking environment, that leads to solid avenues of networking. or referrals. You can meet people in this space you would never normally interact with and never would if you just worked by yourself from home.
It’s clear at this point that the workplace has changed forever, and what was once typical is now obsolete. And since many workers are not going back to the office in a typical way, it’s good there are so many pros to the virtual coworking environment.
This article in the Harvard Business Review sums it up best, “Our research—which is ongoing—suggests that the combination of a well-designed work environment and a well-curated work experience are part of the reason people who cowork demonstrate higher levels of thriving than their office-based counterparts.”
It’s time to thrive and benefit from all the virtual workspace offers.
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