The push to the suburbs drives demand for smaller, flexible space away from cities

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As businesses strive to carry on normal operations during COVID-19, many are seeking smaller, suburban work areas that let their employees find meaningful connections while avoiding crowded buildings, throngs of people and long, stressful commutes to the city.

Companies are already enabling work-from-home options; a Global Workplace Analytics report shows 6% of workers worldwide hold jobs that allow some remote work, and a projected 25 to 30% will be working from home multiple days of the week by the end of 2021.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners who are seeking energy and innovation from their peers are finding full-time work-from-home impractical. The support, coaching and big ideas that are dreamt up by collaborating in-person with colleagues are lacking when people are remote.

“While working from your couch sounds great in theory … it’s important to understand the pros and cons so you know how to best maximize your arrangement,” writes Dawn Papandrea on Monster.com. “Feeling like you’re always ‘at work’ could lead to burnout. And you can feel out of the loop. Whether it’s picking up on the best practices of your colleagues or having an impromptu brainstorming session over lunch, it’s hard to replicate that from home.”

Fostering strong relationships, while enhancing business performance is key for any business, and is leading to a growing workplace trend. The renting of flexible workspaces in convenient suburban markets where professionals can stay productive, connected and empowered is in demand. These coworking centers feature the best of both worlds; instead of employees enduring grueling commutes to highly populated high-rises, they can zip over to a local coworking center with the infrastructure, layout and camaraderie they need to get work done. The smaller offices foster a sense of community, familiarity and comfort to those who feel isolated working from home every day of the week.

“We like to call our members Dreamers, Risk-Takers and Doers,” said Office Evolution Founder and CEO Mark Hemmeter. “Being a small business owner is hard and supporting them and their pursuit of their dreams is our purpose. We also want to make it easy with 24/7 access to locations that are close to home, all wrapped in our Ohana (Hawaiian for family) culture.”

If you’re a small or medium-sized business owner, entrepreneur or freelancer seeking better, more flexible workplace options in times of COVID-19, here are some features you may wish to look for in a new office.

Professional environments: Don’t settle for a building that’s not optimized for professional use. Ensure a smooth transition (and create happy employees) by insisting on the same amenities you’d normally provide, including comfortable, practical furniture; modern kitchens, bathrooms and conference rooms; lightning-fast internet access; efficient phone systems and effective printers and copiers. The best facilities also offer virtual reception services for an added layer of professionalism.

Private offices: With today’s social distancing guidelines, separate workspaces are crucial for reasons of health as well as privacy and productivity. Ensure the building you choose offers plenty of room for your team members, relative both to shared spaces and to those used by others.

Anti-COVID-19 amenities: Your new building should be equipped with features designed to ward off the spread of illness such as touchless entries, sanitation stations and frequent custodian services. Make sure your new space has implemented social distancing guidelines throughout the office, and has spaced out seating in the shared workspace areas.

Short commutes: No one wants to lose valuable hours each day just to get to and from work. Fortunately, coworking offices are located strategically in secondary markets to empower those living in the suburbs to get to work quickly and easily. Look for the locations that will best serve the majority of your team. A shorter commute boosts productivity, morale and work-life balance.

Affordability: Because commercial rents tend to be cheaper in the suburbs, you should be able to find coworking facilities that fit your budget. Coworking spaces offer flexible terms so you only pay for the space you need for as long as you want. Fixed long-term leases aren’t prudent given the agility required to navigate economic uncertainty.

Flexibility: The most efficient facilities offer either month-to-month or long-term contracts. You should have options to rent one office, multiple offices or a conference room depending on your needs.

Where’s the first place to look for appealing, well-equipped professional coworking space? Office Evolution offers over 70 locally owned and operated coworking locations that may be ideal for COVID-19 and beyond. Professionals looking for inspiration beyond the home office turn to providers like Office Evolution for a tight-knit community of like-minded business owners.

Call Office Evolution at 877-475-6300 to learn more.

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