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Is Connection the Word of the Year? (why the future of work is at work)

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, but do you believe it’s true?

Did you ever think you’d feel that way about going to the office? Do you miss being able to walk over to a colleague’s desk for a quick conversation instead of having to write out an email or Slack message? Remember when meetings weren’t all on Zoom? The pandemic has certainly left many people itching to get back to work at work. If you’re one of them, you’re definitely not alone in your nostalgia for life before WFH.

Coworking offers help to those suffering from WFH burnout, isolation, and networking opportunities virtually and safely in person.

Working from home becomes more and more difficult the longer you have to do it. 

Longer Days

While we may spend less time in each virtual meeting that appears on our calendars, there are more of them! That means our workdays are actually longer than they used to be. You aren’t alone if you find yourself yearning for the day you can brainstorm with real, live people in front of an actual whiteboard again.

“The pandemic workday is 48 minutes longer and has more meetings. A study of 3.1 million workers around the world found an uptick in emailing, too. ”

— Bloomberg News via National Bureau of Economic Research study

Do you remember that time everyone complained about the guy who brought in a fish sandwich for lunch? How about that one time a woman burnt popcorn in the shared microwave? Don’t you miss them now? Maybe even just a little bit?

Alright, so it’s not about drawing with dry-erase markers or smelling burnt popcorn, but our feelings about the office are about more than the office. The nostalgia we all have surrounding the office is really about missing the subtleties of being with other people – especially ones we care about and like. (That’s right, admit it – you do care about your coworkers).

Virtual Burnout

Connecting virtually is better than sitting alone talking to your cat, but being in-person is where we typically feel the highest mental health improvement. Connecting with people virtually, in video calls and chatrooms all day isn’t the connection we’ve been craving after months of staying home. One way to switch up our virtual lives right now is to join a new group.

Virtual coworking provides its members with opportunities to meet new people, creating new connections, collaborations, and growth even during a pandemic.

This is why we believe that the future of work is at work

Yes, virtual, augmented, and alternative means of leveraging technology at work is here to stay, but the world of work goes beyond the to-dos themselves. By themselves, tasks have little meaning without how they impact customers or employees. After months of isolation, social-distancing, and virtual-only work, it’s no wonder people are itching to get out and interact again.

We’re social animals and need to be around other people! Going back to the office helps fulfill our human need to connect because that is precisely what’s still missing in a work-from-home-only world. Fostering the human connection that goes beyond the day-to-day is the reason the future of work is at work.

The office can provide safe, healthy, productive spaces for professionals to enjoy in-person once again. So, as we continue fighting COVID-19 and as vaccines roll out, we’re beginning to return to the office again. Coworking spaces are proving to be an oasis for work-from-home professionals needing space to be productive and wanting to stay connected in safe workspaces.

Flexible, Personalized Office Solutions to the Rescue 

While only about 12% of work-from-home professionals want to stay virtual-only after the pandemic, many employers are also looking for alternatives to giant, centralized offices. Isn’t there a happy medium for employees and employers?

Fortunately, yes there is! Focusing on employee mental health and productivity, a true hybrid work model is starting to take shape. In a hybrid model, you’d have the flexibility to work from the office, a coworking space, or at home as needed. This not only enables employers to shrink physical facilities overhead, but also reinvest to improve benefits and provide employees with the flexibility to work in ways that maximize focus, productivity, and workplace happiness while fulfilling our need to connect.

We think the new normal is going to start looking like working from workspaces again, but in a more balanced way than ever before. No more dreaming of days gone by. We’ll again enjoy a podcast or our favorite album during our commute. We’ll again let the cats remember we don’t have to be on the couch all the time. We’ll have the opportunity to miss our families while we work somewhere else again. Yes, absence does make the heart grow fonder. We’ll go back and remember what it was like to be back and working in, with, and for society – together again.

If you’re ready to connect in a safe, distanced workspace with like-minded professionals, check out Haven’s in-person coworking membership options. If you’re not, that’s perfectly okay, too – you can still join our community for ongoing virtual growth and connection. Allow us to be your support and cheer you on through these times, no matter how you connect.

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