Ben reviews 2020 in Mosaic
As I started writing this, I promised myself that this article wouldn’t be all about COVID, but how can I write a review of the year without mentioning it? How could I write about next year without talking about it?! It’s crazy to think that just over a year ago none of us had heard of COVID, Corona was just a beer and socially distancing was something you did at a Christmas party to avoid unwanted office romances.
Mosaic, a co-working space is the centre of Lincoln, opened a few months before the pandemic hit the UK. We had started spreading the word of the benefits of co-working and started building a community within the building. Then, on 23rd March, Boris Johnson ordered the country to stay at home, a move that meant millions of people had to work from home.
Running a co-working space where we want people to come together, collaborate and create a community during a worldwide pandemic which enforces the opposite, isn’t ideal. So, with most of our members taking government advice and working from home we set out a plan on how to create a safe working environment.
It was important for us to provide a safe and secure environment for our members to return to. This included removing chairs to allow social distancing, limiting numbers in certain areas, as well as giving each member their own personalised mug so there was no communal crockery.
COVID has forced employers’ hands in terms of letting their workforce move into remote working. But working from home isn’t for everyone and for many, it may induce a feeling of dread. There are a few reasons why people can’t work at home; don’t have the setup, physical health, mental health, not productive enough. Where there was the initial excitement of working from home, I wonder whether the novelty is now starting to wear off.
People’s mental health when working from home really needs to be thought about by employers. During the pandemic, it was reported that 80% of people had negative mental health issues. This is hardly a surprise with the stresses of a global pandemic as well as working at home, largely by yourself, without your normal support network around you. Employers need to think about their team’s wellbeing and by this, I don’t mean a chair and a desk plant, it’s their colleagues’ mental health that should be at the forefront of their mind.
This leads to me to my question; are we working from home, or living at work? We’ve all done it during this time – left the laptop on through to the evening answering emails, feeling you have to answer every one super-fast so people don’t think you’re sat with your feet up watching daytime TV. Without having your normal work structure, the end of the workday lines are blurred more than ever.
Looking forward to 2021 I think we’ll see a huge difference in working life for many people and the introduction of a third space – a co-working space.
As we see a vaccine rolled out and people returning to work, office working environments with a high density of people is unlikely to return. Employers may take smaller spaces in hubs where the team can come together if needed. We’ll see commuters who have realised they don’t need to travel to the office everyday but still want the professional environment to work.
One thing that COVID has done has is shown that people like the flexibility of fitting their life around work. But at times, working from home is difficult with children crashing meetings, dogs barking in the background, broadband problems. This is where a co-working space can come in to enhance people’s flexible working.
Co-working spaces can improve productivity and give people structure. Collaboration and community are huge factors, giving you that sense of belonging, having people around you not only bounce ideas off but to chat with. These benefits all improve people’s mental health whilst allowing them to have the flexibility that COVID has shown that people want.
If you’re a remote worker, freelancer, business or organisation that are looking to start the new year in a collaborative workspace, then pay us a visit. In January we are offering new members two months half price membership on desk space so you can see the benefits of a co-working space for yourself. Simply email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or enquire through our website.
All that’s left for me to do is wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy new year.