Do you hate working from home but don't want to go back to the dreaded commute? There may be a solution...
For me, office work has never looked like any of the people images I'm using in this post, and even if it did, the bright, jolly pictures would be a thing of the past... For starters, I don't think I've ever seen anyone continuously smile in the office, like they are in these lovely stock photos, and secondly, there's no perspex shield in between the workers - which is becoming a part of the the 'new normal'.
Global and local challenges are prevailing at the moment, and while working from home is, for some people, amazing, others are left looking for alternative solutions to working from home that don't involve a commute into a city centre. There's also the business case that running a head office is a really expensive overhead and that actually, remote working is great for business.
One of my pre-covid clients who I have started to work with again (yay!), Wimbletech, is a community interest company which takes disused public spaces (think libraries and public sector buildings) and turns them into affordable co-working spaces (when I say affordable, you can get a desk from £65 per month). The genius of it is that these co-working spaces are largely in residential areas and generate much-needed cash for local councils because they use up what would otherwise be dead space and renting it out to local people to use as workspaces.
Traditional office spaces are changing along with attitudes towards remote working, with managers not needing to monitor employees in the office (known in some circles as micro management). The global pandemic taught us that you can trust the majority of grown-ups to do their jobs effectively when not in the office - in the same way that World War II taught people that women were capable of doing the same jobs as men. That being said, if you live in a house share, have several kids running around, or simply just don't have a lot of room, it can be really problematic when you're told that remote working is your only option. You can head out to a cafe, but this can get expensive and cafes exactly aren't known for their ergonomic chairs.
What is Wimbletech? And why is this CIC so important?
A community interest company (or CIC) is a special form of non-charitable limited company, which exists primarily to benefit a community or is consciously pursuing a social purpose, rather than to make a profit for shareholders.
The beauty of what Wimbletech does, and the reason I was so interested in them as a company to begin with, is that what they do is extremely beneficial to local councils which feed into the local community. Councils have seen their budgets decimated over the last few years, and desperately need new ways of funding their wards and boroughs. Councils also have a lot of space which can be used by the community, but not every borough has the skillset within it to develop disused space to be productive working space. Also, when you're in a co-working space, you get to work alongside people from lots of different businesses and often pick up skills and advice in the process. They have designers, travel brokers and nanny recruiters amongst the crew at Wimbletech
Bizarre as it feels to say it, I actually think Wimbletech has benefitted from the shock of lockdown and the need to streamline its operation. Despite the barriers in-between desks, it feels more open, there is less clutter and the members are slowly coming back. We are strengthening our relationships with the local high street venues so that we can keep people local and hopefully say goodbye to the dreaded commute.