Navigating the Future of Work: Exploring the Pros and Cons of Virtual Coworking

Navigating the Future of Work: Exploring the Pros and Cons of Virtual Coworking

Introduction of coworking space

Everyone is familiar with the experience of working in a coworking space. This includes obtaining hot desks for individuals or renting an entire managed office space for a team. However, imagine if we could conduct all these arrangements online.

This is the fundamental distinction between physical coworking and its online counterpart. With virtual office spaces, employees are not required to be physically present at the same location as their coworkers to collaborate effectively.

To determine if virtual office spaces could be the future, it is essential to assess both the challenges and opportunities they present. 

Let's examine both aspects of this situation.

The Challenges:

Lack of Co-ordination:

  • While adopting this mode of work may appear attractive, it comes with its own set of challenges. 

  • The primary concern is coordination. 

  • The employer must actively engage with the team on a daily basis to receive updates. 

  • Conducting virtual stand-ups, scrums, and lunch bag meetings are options to facilitate team collaboration. 

  • However, employees may find themselves reporting their work through multiple channels and coordinating with various individuals, which can lead to increased frustration rather than achieving mental peace.

Project Delays:

  • The delay in projects is a direct consequence of the previously mentioned coordination challenges. 

  • Handling a virtual team demands considerable effort, particularly in monitoring the progress of work at managerial levels. 

  • The continuous need for updates on daily tasks can be demotivating for employees and may even lead to a sense of disengagement. 

  • Consequently, this situation can give rise to friction among colleagues, especially for seemingly trivial tasks that could have been easily resolved in a traditional office setting.

  • In a virtual environment, timely communication and effective task management become crucial. 

  • Without face-to-face interactions, there can be delays in obtaining essential information, clarifying doubts, and making swift decisions. 

  • The absence of immediate feedback or guidance can slow down the workflow and hinder project progress.

  • Additionally, since virtual teams might span different time zones or have varying schedules, coordinating meetings or collaborative sessions can be challenging. 

  • This can lead to prolonged decision-making processes and potential misunderstandings due to delayed responses.

  • In order to tackle these challenges, it is essential to take proactive measures such as establishing clear communication channels, setting expectations, and implementing efficient project management tools. 

  • Encouraging regular check-ins, providing necessary resources, and fostering a sense of teamwork can be instrumental in mitigating the adverse effects of delays in virtual projects.

Lack of work-life balance:

  • The concept of working from home may seem like an ideal scenario, granting people the flexibility to manage their work around personal commitments. 

  • While this option has the potential to offer such benefits, in many cases, employees find it challenging to maintain a proper routine. 

  • Often, they become less productive, taking frequent breaks and ultimately stretching their work hours, leading to an all-day-long working situation.

Difficulty in understanding employees' well-being:

  • Prominent and successful organizations share a common trait that sets them apart: their ability to empathize with their employees. 

  • Understanding the emotional state and well-being of employees is crucial for assessing their efficiency. 

  • Observing their emotional intelligence, stress levels, body language, and more helps in building a connection with them and gauging their potential. 

  • However, remote work environments make it difficult for employees to interact face-to-face and hinder the accomplishment of this essential understanding.

Embracing Online Work during the Challenging Times of Coronavirus

Amidst the difficulties posed by the coronavirus pandemic, virtual coworking has emerged as a valuable solution. With social distancing measures in place, working from home has become the norm, providing an opportunity for employees to explore the concept of remote work. 

Here are several ways in which it can prove advantageous:

Increased Flexibility: 

  • Virtual offices offer a high degree of flexibility, allowing employees to work from any location and at any time. 

  • While core working hours demand colleagues' collaboration, individuals can complete the rest of the work based on their preferences.

  • This is especially advantageous for night owls who thrive in late-night working environments. 

  • Furthermore, during regular circumstances, employees can step out to work from a cafe or garden, introducing a change of scenery and providing a breath of fresh air. 

  • The freedom to choose their work environment motivates employees, leading to higher productivity and a stronger connection to their job.

Enhanced Creativity: 

  • Being freed from the confines of a physical office space can reduce both physical and mental stress. 

  • With this saved time and mental energy, teams can focus on more critical tasks and foster creativity. 

  • Engaging in online collaborative activities can also strengthen team bonds and provide much-needed breaks from the workload.

  • Enhanced Team Inclusivity:
  • The online mode proves particularly advantageous for organizations with employees hailing from diverse cities and countries. 

  • It fosters inclusivity by accommodating various cultures from around the world. 

  • A team comprising diverse backgrounds and perspectives can unleash creativity and bring fresh, innovative ideas to fuel the company's growth.

Environmentally Friendly Impact:

  • One of the most significant advantages of virtual coworking is its positive impact on the environment, leading to reduced pollution. 

  • Several reports have emerged indicating the healing of the ozone layer and the improvement in air quality due to the shutdown of industrial activities and the ban on commuting.

  • Eliminating the need for daily office commutes substantially lowers the carbon footprint, aligning with global efforts such as India's pledge in the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions by 33-35% by 2030. 

  • By cutting down on electricity consumption in office spaces, organizations can take a significant step towards fulfilling these environmental commitments.

Overcoming Challenges and Preparing for Emergencies:

Though adopting this working system may present initial challenges, virtual coworking proves to be a highly beneficial and viable option during emergencies and crises. It can effectively address situations like heavy monsoon floods, transportation strikes, and the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak. Preparing the team to embrace remote work or even transitioning entirely to this new working style is a wise choice. Embracing remote work not only helps corporations thrive but also nurtures a sense of community among team members. For these compelling reasons, it is time to seriously consider and prepare for the transition to remote work.

The Rise of Premium Office Spaces : Unlocking Potential for Productivity and Innovation