The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the future of work and challenged many assumptions about how we do business

It is true that some companies were already prepared to transition to working from home, while others were not. Those who had the foresight to set up policy and infrastructure in advance of the pandemic have been able to keep their teams together while still meeting client needs. On the other hand, there are many businesses that have been slow to respond or failed altogether because they didn’t have a contingency plan in place. The ‘great disruption’ that we have all experienced in the way we work is set to be even more disruptive in the months and years to come.

The hybrid model will be the new norm.

The hybrid model is a compromise. It’s partly remote work, partly office work—but it’s also a good compromise between the two. In fact, I believe that this combination of approaches will become the new norm in business and allow companies to get the best of both worlds: flexibility and stability. The golden rules of hybrid work are leadership and culture. How are you leading your team through a disruptive era and how are you managing your company culture to get the best out of your team?

In the post-COVID world, flexible office space will be king.

Flexible office space will be king in the post-COVID world. In the traditional model, most employees work nine-to-five and get a desk, usually in an office building or campus of some sort. But as we move to a hybrid workforce, flexible office space becomes key.

Employees need a place where they can not only plug in their laptops and immediately get to work no matter where they are, but also collaborate in an environment designed for creativity and engagement. Employers need employees who can be productive outside the traditional office setting and who are not tied down by geographic location or hours worked. Employers will also want to attract talent from outside their company walls when the size of talent pools expands beyond what one employer can offer alone. That means more options for employee satisfaction (and retention) will become available as hybrid workspaces open up across both emerging markets and mature economies alike.

The office building itself is changing too: it’s becoming less like a workspace with uniform white walls and generic office furniture, which doesn’t encourage collaboration between coworkers. Instead, offices are becoming more welcoming places that foster collaboration between teams while still maintaining privacy when necessary. The office of the future is place for collaboration and creativity, for meetings and team engagement, for social contact and wellness. Employees must be encouraged to join in on a new version of company culture and this must be supported by creative and forward thinking leaders.

The culture within companies needs to change too: leaders must embrace new ways of working with each other if they want their culture supported by their colleagues. A willingness (or even eagerness) to adopt new ways of working together remotely rather than face-to-face only at a prescribed locations every day is essential.

Remote working is here to stay.

You may have heard that remote workers are happier, more productive and more loyal than those who work in the office. But what are these benefits really? And how can you make sure that working from home is a good experience for your business?

A survey by FlexJobs found that 86% of employees would rather work from home than commute to an office every day. The same survey also indicated that 56% of respondents said they were likely or very likely to leave their current job if their employer wouldn’t let them do so remotely. And it seems like this trend won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

There are a variety of reasons why flexible or hybrid working can benefit your company:

> Employees get more time with their family or friends during the day, which leads to better morale and higher productivity when they return to work. This work/life balance makes for happier team members overall—a crucial factor when trying to motivate employees at all levels across departments within your organisation. Not only does this mean a reduction in turnover rates, but also less stress on each individual worker’s health and wellness due to having less pressure put upon them to adhere to rigid time schedules.

> Lower capex – businesses can reduce not only their office space footprint but also reduce their capital expenditure by outsourcing their physical office environment to a third party provider of flexible workspace.

Corporate culture will evolve to support a hybrid workforce.

The best way to keep a new workforce engaged is to have them feel like they’re part of the team, and company culture has a lot to do with this. The key here is fostering a sense of inclusion and understanding. You need your employees to see themselves as being on the same team as everyone else in their company, whether they’re physically present or not. You also need them to know what’s expected of them as remote workers—for example, how often they should check in with their managers, if they’ll have access to any online training materials that would help their performance at work, where can they work from if they choose to work outside the home, how can they stay connected with their colleagues, etc.

Companies need to focus on three main strategies to survive in a hybrid workforce world –

  1. Recruit well
  2. Retain talent
  3. Stay adaptable

Traditional leadership styles will suffer.

In the past, organisations that have relied on a traditional approach to management have been able to grow quickly based on their ability to attract top talent with strong work ethics and loyalty. These companies were also able to maintain high levels of productivity by focusing on a few core values that everyone followed strictly. Today, though, many employees are looking for more flexibility in their schedules or even part-time employment opportunities so that they can spend more time with their families or pursue other passions outside of work. As a result, these companies are losing out on talented workers who feel stifled by the lack of flexibility offered in traditional environments, while also failing to attract new hires with similar values because they know they won’t fit well within such rigid structures.

Leadership must support a hybrid workforce.

Leadership should focus not only on expanding its scope, but also becoming more inclusive when working with different groups within its organisation. Including those who don’t fit into traditional job descriptions. This means breaking down barriers between departments so people can collaborate across functions as needed without feeling isolated from peers outside their immediate team memberships. A hybrid work solution supports this premise – providing spaces for people to meet and teams to work together collaboratively as and when required. It also involves having leaders who understand how to cultivate diversity within teams without making others feel excluded from conversations.

Investing in digital solutions and supporting employees to work from wherever they want will enable leaders to create a workplace that is meaningful and rich in experiences and relationships.

The future of work is hybrid.

We’re all familiar with the term “hybrid”, but let’s define it again for this context: a combination of something old and something new that creates a whole new experience. Hybrid work models leverage the benefits of flexibility, agility and remote working to create an entirely new way to find meaning at work.

In order for us to shift our mindsets towards creating this type of future, we need to accept that it requires us to do two things differently: firstly, we need real leadership around what it means for businesses today; secondly, we must also change how we think about success as individuals within those businesses.

Commuting time.

Commuting is a major time-suck for most office-goers. The average person spends about 100 minutes commuting to work each day, or about 203 hours annually. Imagine how much time you could save by eliminating that commute by working flexibly! Just think: instead of sitting in traffic everyday, being impatient with the sluggish pace of your fellow drivers, and getting honked at by strangers, you could be doing things like catching up on sleep or finishing up a project before your boss gets back.

Camaraderie in the workplace, by being physically present at least some of the time.

Another important benefit of the hybrid work model is that it allows employees to separate their work and home environments. The ability to leave the home for a portion of the day is vital for many employees, who have learned during this pandemic that working from home can be isolating and lonely. Additionally, when employers provide office space for their employees, they are able to foster camaraderie in the workplace, as colleagues can interact and get to know one another better. In addition, having coworkers physically present in an office makes meetings more efficient because time doesn’t have to be spent troubleshooting technology issues or allowing everyone time to join a virtual meeting. Instead, colleagues can instantly meet together in person at any time during work hours.

Office space costs are reduced.

You’ll need less office space when you choose a hybrid work model at a coworking space. Office space is leased per square metre, so the smaller your office, the less you’ll pay. If you’re in a big city like Melbourne or Sydney, where rentals are particularly steep, this can represent big savings for your company. Extra workspaces that aren’t being used everyday because employees are working from home, means you can share them between your team and reduce your overall rental costs.

Utility costs are reduced

Utility bills are a thing of the past when you choose to work from a flexible office space, or coworking space. All your water, electricity, gas and internet bills are included in the base cost of your membership. This also means no maintenance costs – say goodbye to air conditioning issues in the summer and heating issues in the winter, everything is taken care of for you! And it goes without saying that during a pandemic when we’re all washing our hands more often than before and using multiple hand sanitiser pumps every day – hand towel usage will go through the roof (pun intended). That’s more money you don’t have to spend on replacing rolls of toilet paper and hand towels every week or even worry about who is going to manage that problem!

Cleaning services are included

Desks, common areas, meeting spaces, kitchens and bathrooms are cleaned everyday in a coworking space. You don’t need to worry about stocking supplies or managing refills. These changes alone could mean hundreds of dollars saved annually just by switching to hybrid work!

Increased productivity for many workers.

For many, the ability to work from home at least some of the time is an immense perk. Even just taking one day a week to not commute to and from an office can be a huge relief for many employees. Working from home means less distraction and more focus—especially for positions that are not customer-facing or which do not involve constant collaboration with other employees. Not having to deal with the major distractions—and even annoyances—of everyday office life is a huge benefit for many people. A study by Stanford University found that workers who worked from home at least some of the time were 13% more productive than their counterparts in the office. Employees also reported higher job satisfaction and lower stress levels as benefits of working remotely, although they did miss workplace relationships when working at home.

Companies that allow hybrid work benefit from it in several ways.

Companies that offer hybrid work arrangements generally realise a number of benefits. For one thing, employers save money by reducing office space and other expenses associated with brick-and-mortar work. Businesses can also hire from a wider talent pool because location is less of an issue. Employees are happier if they have more free time for family and personal interests, which leads to higher retention rates and less need for expensive employee recruitment and training programs. They may also be more productive when they can focus on tasks away from the distractions of a workplace environment, especially since remote workers are often given more independence as they prove their value to the company.

Choosing a hybrid work model for your company with Thrive Network is easy. We can help you reduce your costs and improve your employee happiness with our beautiful facilities and mindful community. Book a tour with us today here and see the benefits for yourself.

Coworking Spaces vs Traditional Offices – What is Better for Small and Medium Businesses?

One of the most important, and desirable, benefits of using a coworking space is its flexibility as compared to traditional offices. You don’t have to commit to a long-term lease and everything – including utilities, internet, mail service and reception – is normally covered in your fee. At The Thrive Network all of these things are included in your monthly fee plus so much more – dedicated customer service staff, end of trip facilities, premium AV amenities and fully equipped kitchens.

Flexible lease options provide businesses with the ability to scale – up or down – without incurring extra capital expenditure and provide the ultimate balance of stability and cost-effectiveness.

Small to medium businesses can usually move in straightaway and occupy a space that is fully equipped. Desks, chairs, lockable storage, internet and phone connections are all ready to use. Spaces also come with a variety of amenities and on-demand meeting rooms and conference room arrangements.

What is a Coworking Space?

A coworking space or shared space office, often has an open-plan layout and is shared with a variety of other businesses and individuals who are members of the space. In order to maintain an environment of collaboration and communication, the spaces are typically filled with comfortable furniture, shared technology like printers and wifi and free coffee. Many coworking spaces, including The Thrive Network, also offer private offices and sectioned off team areas for larger businesses or for those who desire a level of privacy.

A good flexible workspace will offer a great environment and culture that is conducive to productivity, fosters creativity and inspiration, and encourages networking and collaboration. Social events for members of a flexible space allow companies to offer these benefits to their employees – community lunches, after work drinks, educational sessions and health and wellness offerings are all part of enjoying being a member of a flexible office or coworking space.

Most businesses will benefit from the countless networking opportunities that shared workspaces provide. Working alongside a varied collection of individuals, businesses, creatives and niches makes it easy to build your network, collaborate and find new clients.

What is a Traditional Office?

A traditional office is typically your own space, whether leased or owned, to be used exclusively for your business. If you’re renting the office, you usually have to commit to a term of at least five years and enter into a contract with the owner of the premises. Building out and furnishing the offices is also your responsibility along with connection of services and all utilities. This includes everything from finding the right internet connection to making sure you always have toilet paper in stock and the bathrooms are clean. Other expensive investments may also include building out meeting rooms and providing staff amenities. This could also involve you having to hire a dedicated person to manage your office.

A traditional office can reflect your branding and culture but at a steep cost – in contrast many coworking spaces will allow you to brand your own area and provide signage for you on their website or at the entrance to their space.

Coworking Space Melbourne

What kind of Amenities are available in a Coworking Space?

Amenities are one of the many benefits of a shared workspace. Coworking spaces provide so many options for the small and medium businesses and independent workers who use the space. Fully equipped kitchens, coffee machines, end of trip facilities including showers and lockers and hi-tech meeting rooms using the latest technology for hybrid meetings (webcams, conference speakers, etc) as well as large screens for screen sharing presentations, whiteboards and pinboards.  Bike storage and dedicated car parking are also available at many coworking spaces to ensure your employees can travel to work without any obstructions. Community managers or reception staff make sure the space is always running smoothly – you don’t need to worry about buying paper for the printer or teabags for the kitchen, it is all done for you!

Cleanliness in coworking spaces is paramount. Cleaning services are included in your monthly fee and cover professional cleaners coming into the space, as well as the dedicated staff at the coworking space continually sanitising and maintaining hygiene protocols in common use areas.

Private Offices vs Open Spaces

Some companies prefer to have a private office space within a coworking space. This could be because they regularly make a lot of private phone calls or need security for their client files. Other companies enjoy the open plan layout coworking spaces offer in their team or individual desk areas.

Private offices are lockable and can be branded with the company marketing materials. The office can normally be altered to suit the business using it and then simply returned to its original form once that company has moved on. A private office can also provide fewer distractions and be a quieter space than an open plan area.

Open plan spaces provide individual desks, team areas and flexible desks for different types of businesses. Many businesses and their staff love the hubbub of an open plan space – the chatter in the kitchen at lunchtime, the casual social interactions across the desks and the common collaboration areas which foster creativity and learning. Despite the desks being open plan, they are often sectioned into groups of 4 or 6 making them perfect for small or growing teams. At The Thrive Network our desks are large enough to provide social distancing whilst still being collaborative and they all include lockable storage and network connections.

What are the Benefits of a Coworking Space?

  • Flexibility
  • Lower Costs
  • Networking and Collaboration
  • Atmosphere and Employee Benefits
  • Built-in Office Management
  • Move-In Ready
  • COVIDSafe Workplace
  • Up to date technology and amenities

The rise of the hybrid workforce has made coworking and shared office spaces an attractive option for businesses of all shapes and sizes. The importance of flexibility cannot be overstated in relation to the bottom line of any business, and the mental health and wellness benefits provided by coworking spaces for employees of all businesses is paramount to creating a long lasting and dynamic company culture.

Want to find out more? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Company Culture in the Workplace

Company culture in the workplace has been one of the many things that COVID-19 has changed forever.

We’ve lived through lockdown, travel bans and job loss. Understandably, it’s the workplace where the lifestyle change has been most profound. Office buildings usually alive with activity – that office buzz created by individuals and teams collaborating on projects, sharing ideas or simply chatting – now stand almost empty. Those face to face meetings where you build a rapport and gain trust, have been replaced by zoom calls. Monumental changes to the way we live and work have reinforced our inability to create, and maintain, a solid company culture when everyone is working at home alone.

There’s no denying the global pandemic has changed the workplace landscape. The last time there was a change of this magnitude was in 1926 when the standardisation of the five-day working week was rolled out by Henry Ford. This was done over several years, so it’s no surprise that according to a recent Workforce Survey, 54% of workers say their jobs have become more difficult since COVID-19. And while we’re not out of the woods yet, some countries are slowly opening up and beginning a COVID normal way of life. But instead of rushing back to bustling pre-COVID office buildings, companies around the world are expanding their working from home policies. Survey data reveals that 74% of companies plan to permanently shift to more remote work post-COVID. So what does this mean for company culture? And what can be done to ensure the happiness and wellbeing of your employees?

What is Company Culture?

Firstly, what is culture? Culture is a way the company as a whole operates towards fulfilling its goals. There is no published policy or document that can create a corporate culture, or guarantee that people will practice the company’s values each day. It is influenced by how the people, especially the leaders, behave day in and day out. So, culture can make or break your strategy.

If a company was a person, culture would be its personality. Considering its importance, maintaining a positive company culture and getting employees to “buy-in” to a company’s vision is vital. If employees aren’t enthusiastic about the vision, they won’t be enthusiastic about executing a strategy for it.

Every company and culture is different. It’s not something that generally changes quickly, rather it adjusts and morphs slowly over time. Company culture reflects the realities of people working together every day. While some employees admitted to being more productive at home during the pandemic, most miss the impromptu chats, the debriefs in the kitchen and the access to learning from their mentors.

Togetherness unites us and gives us a much needed sense of belonging. This is as important in the office space as it is in our personal life.

How Flexible Space can Re-Build Company Culture

Many companies are embracing a flexible approach of time at home and time in the office. Coworking spaces and flexible office spaces have become even more appealing as companies try to re-establish an internal cohesiveness. Employees will still need a place to come together, connect and build relationships.

Direction, guidance and mentoring are imperative for employee success. They’re also three things that can be difficult to do remotely. Flexibility is also key. By adapting to the change now, companies will be better equipped for the work world of the future and will be able to deliver a more positive working experience.

Flexible office space, regular face-to-face meetings and collaboration are all imperative to maintain culture in this brave new world.

It’s too early to tell what the mid and long term changes to organisational culture will be, but if company culture is the secret sauce that defines the nature of an organisation, coworking spaces may well be the bun that holds it all together.

There’s no doubt that working from home has its benefits. The comfy clothes, lack of commute, readily available snacks. But how long before the shine wears off and you find yourself wanting to see other people in person, join in on a company lunch, or just get an answer to a simple question quickly and not have to wait for an email response? And let’s not get started about Zoom…

We have an easy fix for this – an office space designed for flexibility. A coworking space.

You can come in to the office space whenever you feel like you want to get dressed, see people, use some decent wifi and get free coffee. Or you can commit to a more permanent flexible schedule (that’s a thing now!) where you use a space to work from two to three times a week and spend the rest of your time at home.

Here are the top 10 reasons why working from home doesn’t always work…

1. Isolation –

living alone and being at home on your own all day and then again at night can start to have a serious impact on your mental health and wellbeing. As human beings we are hardwired to be part of a tribe and connect with others. The community and ambience at a coworking space and office space will give you the social interaction you crave to cure your loneliness and make you feel less isolated.

2. Kids –

we love ’em. We do. But not whilst we are trying to write a proposal / meet with a client / get literally anything done during our workday. Having a space away from the offspring is a definite bonus for your productivity.

3. Work / Life Separation –

perhaps you are not commuting to the office anymore, but working from home means you are always at work. Many people have stated that they have worked longer hours since being confined to their homes as they don’t ‘switch off’ at the end of the day. Instead they keep answering emails or doing what would normally be tasks to be done during a standard work day. It’s fine at first right? A few minutes here, a few minutes there; but before you know it it’s 9pm and you’re still on your laptop.

4. Distractions –

SO. MANY. DISTRACTIONS. I’ll just put a load of washing on. Get the dinner started early. Quickly pop to the shops. You’re being distracted to the point of not actually being able to focus on anything properly at all.

5. Lack of Motivation –

working in an office space with people who are focused can give your own productivity and focus a boost. There’s an energy about being around other people who are working that is contagious. Unless you are an incredibly self-motivated person every hour of every day, this is unlikely to translate to working from home.

6. Technology and Connectivity –

do you have lightning fast fibre wifi in your house designed to cope with large files, video conferencing and maintain a certain rate of uploads and downloads? I didn’t think so. One of the many problems of working from home is the patchy internet and the lack of access to the latest technology. A coworking space provides you with the best technology you can get, plus dedicated staff to help you when you have problems.

7. Meetings –

have you lost count of the amount of Zoom meetings you’ve had where you have told at least one person “you’re on mute”? And don’t start with the cameras not being turned on, the calls that drop in and out due to bad wifi, the dogs barking in the background or the poor lighting. Being able to have a face to face meeting with your team in a beautiful environment with premium AV facilities is worth its weight in gold. Scheduling a regular meeting room designed for exactly that purpose will re-energise your team.

8. Coffee –

I bought a coffee machine for home during COVID (like the rest of the planet) but it just isn’t the same as having a beautifully brewed latte at Thrive on demand. Not to mention the chai lattes, hot chocolate and the range of herbal teas that are also available.

9. Snacks –

working from home affords you ready access the pantry AT ALL TIMES. This is neither good for your waistline nor your hip pocket. You find yourself unmotivated and distracted because you’re working from home and you reach for a snack because, well, because you can. Pull yourself together, make yourself some lunch and bring it into your new flexible workspace. Leave the snacks for netflix and chill time.

10. Cost –

not commuting to work, paying for parking or buying your lunch everyday saves money but have you noticed your electricity bills have skyrocketed, your food bill is astronomical (see point 9 about snacks) and you keep running out of paper for the printer. You’re not actually saving money working from home you’re just channelling the funds elsewhere. A good coworking space (like Thrive) will have included all utilities, cleaning, paper, coffee, tea, wifi and more in their fees so you only pay one price and everything else is taken care of. You can even bring your own lunch and store it in our fridge.

Thrive offers a beautiful, clean, COVID safe environment with day passes, punch passes, part-time and full time memberships as well as private office space and meeting rooms. Starting at $25 per day, it’s a cost effective answer to your working from home problems. There are no lock-in contracts and no upfront fees. Come on in and try us out, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Contact us today or read more about our COVID safe policies here.

Finding a home for yourself, your business or your team can be hard work. Researching, negotiating, setup costs and so on. It takes valuable time away from your real job – of running your business. So what are the things you should be looking out for when choosing a workspace?

Does your current space allow you to focus on your business?

If you are constantly working in your business – dealing with internet providers, filling up the printer with paper, buying coffee and paying utility bills instead of working on your business – it might be time to move to a flexible space where all these tasks are done for you and you have the ability to scale up or down without incurring unnecessary costs.

Does your workspace provide you with the technology you need?

To work effectively in the modern era employers and their staff need to be able access up to date technology such as hi-speed fibre internet, video conferencing facilities, printing and security, and the knowledge that there is IT support and backup to fix any problems, allowing seamless connectivity between a company and its clients.

Can you attract top talent into your business?

Eligible talent want more than just an office space. They want a space that supports positivity, wellness and mental stimulation. Quality design in your workspace should include spaces to be productive and collaborate with other team members, areas to have quiet time for serious work and places that encourage socialisation and connection. Light filled areas, plants and premium amenities including kitchens and end of trip facilities are a must.

How convenient is your office location?

Time is money and commuting to the office can take way too long out of everyone’s day. Choose a space that is close to public transport, has available parking and access to airports or major freeways. Having a workspace in a central, easy accessible location offers a level of convenience for your team. Any local amenities nearby such as cafes, restaurants or green areas are also a bonus!

Does your workspace support your business?

Making a home for your business within a shared workspace offers the added benefit of networking and collaboration with other like-minded business owners and individuals. A treasure trove talent pool of people who are dedicated to growing their future, just like you!

The Thrive Network has workspace for individuals, small businesses and larger teams to focus on doing their best work at the best value with flexible spaces, meeting rooms, private offices and collaboration spaces. Contact us today to learn more or organise a tour.