The importance of co-working spaces in the post-pandemic era
The best co-working spaces bring people together and create a community that fosters creativity.Filmed
Hanna Nylund from Maria 01 argues that co-working spaces are more than just places for work: they are communities that connect people, foster creativity and help to build the next world-changing ideas.
The end of the year is approaching, which means many of us are gathering data on our customers’ behaviour: How did we do and what should we focus on? The past two years have definitely made the game more interesting. COVID-19 has managed to shake up the numbers, keeping us in suspense waiting for results we, at least to some extent, used to be able to predict.
As we seem to have moved into a so-called post-pandemic age, the way we spend our working days is without a doubt a metric that has seen a drastic change. Maybe even for good. In 2020, remote work nearly doubled in Finland and, although it was later declared safe to return to the office, over 70 per cent of all Finnssaid they would like to continue to work from home.
“A co-working space is more than just a place to work.”
I spend most of my days at one of the biggest startup campuses in Europe, and it has made me ponder whether there still is a need for co-working spaces if the majority of us prefer to work from home. Although I’m currently eagerly waiting for the official results of where our members have spent their working days in the past year, I can quite confidently answer the question in one short word: yes. At its best, a co-working space is more than just a place to work; it’s a community fostering creativity and building the next groundbreaking ideas.
More than two years spent in front of screens has made people hungry for a sense of belonging like never before. With over 6 800 co-working spaces across Europe, and the annual estimated growth rate being nearly five per cent, the opportunities to work from outside your home seem to be secure for the coming years. However, when chatting with our community members about things they missed in their working life the most during COVID, very few mentioned a place to work from outside the home. Instead, it was networking at breakfast events, the creativity boosts you get by chatting with someone looking to solve the same problem as you and the support you can only get from fellow founders that had been lacking. How do you orchestrate a random encounter at lunch or a casual sit-down with someone outside your team through Zoom, Teams or Meet? You don’t – we need a common physical space to meet.
Especially for smaller startups, lacking an internal support network within their own team, community-focused co-working spaces provide opportunities to meet, connect and create together. It is not the place you work from that helps you build the next world-changing company, it is the people you are surrounded by.