Coronavirus had changed the way we work – remotely, from home. Where is home? Home is anywhere with a stable internet connection. You can work from your cabin, the basement of your house, Thailand, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver, Phoenix, San-Diego… Tech giants like Uber, Microsoft, Google – all moved their employees to remote work until next year. Employees are given the opportunity to remote in until summer next year. My former company where i used to work, Uber ATG, had moved all its employees to remote work until June 2020. That’s almost a year from now. What could happen in a year? What could happen in a month?
Recently I’ve had a zoom call with my friend who lives in the Silicon Valley, SF. I asked how did the Coronavirus lockdown impact Silicon Valley and what were his observations. He said that the streets and offices were empty. No people on streets, at the grocery stores, minimum cars on the roads. Everyone moved away. People went back home, where now they work from. Some even went back to their home countries like India or China, for example. His co-workers are now spread all over the globe and they all work remote in the Zoom meetings. What he described was that commercial spaces and offices in particular were shutting down. Companies took financial loss by breaking the lease. Indeed, it doesn’t make any sense to keep on paying high rent, while all the employees are working from home. It doesn’t make make financial sense to keep security and cleaning stuff on payroll. No need for the catering services and the parking space. Everyone works from home. The companies don’t have the office they used to. Does it mean that they don’t need it? I don’t think so… they do.
Human beings are social creatures. We need to congregate and meet face-to-face. We are more productive and come with better ideas by collaborating with others. We need to share our experiences and thoughts by communicating verbally face-to-face. Video conferencing like Zoom or Google Hangout will never replace the natural human interaction. We need to meet face to face especially when we are working on the same project. Nowadays this becomes a challenge for two reasons: companies don’t have the office anymore; government restrictions to how many people can congregate in an enclosed area at the same time.
Another friend of mine works at UOT – University of Toronto. He manages the team and he is totally fine with people working from home. In fact, a lot of people are being more efficient and productive. Despite the high levels of performance of his team, he recognizes the need to gather them together on regular basis. There is no large space enough to have everyone in at the same time. There are restrictions due to COVID. What he wants to do, is to gather his stuff at least twice a month for meetings, presentations, sprint planning or some sort of team building events. People need to feel as they are a part of something – a company. People need to feel they belong. Working from home all the time does not fulfill this need.
Staples – the office supply company. Recently, I learned about a new venture they got into. On the back of thr Staples store, where used to be a warehouse space is now a co-working space. It’s called a Staples Studio, look it up. The company with its new owners is testing the market. Staples Studio are available in Toronto, Oakville, Kelowna, Ottawa. There are also six locations in Boston, Massachusetts. They plan to continue expanding, however taking it slow. There was a dip in April and May, however now it recovers back, and people are coming back into their coworking spaces. Staples Studios offer live streaming conference rooms, podcast recording booths, fully equipped kitchens with free coffee, tea and snacks, soundproof booths, washrooms, free parking, private conference rooms and 24/7 access. They charge a fee – $25 /day.
I learned that Staples work with big companies like Spotify and Google, where they rent the office space out to those companies. They rent the space for few days or a week, where employees come together to work on projects. Once done, everyone goes back to remote work. Twice or three times a month, employees come together in the rental office space. Staples and other coworking hubs are typically located in urban areas of the city.
In post-COVID world, companies won’t need to own office equipment, computers, furniture, pay high rent, manage security stuff etc. Office space will be rented “on demand”, whenever there is a need to bring the company employees together. Few times a month people gather together and work from home the rest of time. Kudos to Staples for trying new things.
Let’s move this concept a little further. The “new office” don’t have to be in the city. Coworking space can be set up in Banff, for example. Beautiful mountains, surrounded by lakes, in the middle of woods. Our corporate customers would rent co-working space and bring their staff for temporary work engagements.
Why work with us, but not just any coworking place?
We are unique in a way we design, build and situate our offices. Our main goal is to create the environment, where people can focus. We limit any external distractions, so our customers can perform at their best. Beautiful, remote places stimulate creativity and improve work performance.
Our rental offices will provide your team with the following:
- 24/7 catering service. Our nutritionists prepare meals that support brain activity and improve focus. Our menu is designed to boost your mental performance.
- Breathing instructors. Daily breathing sessions to teach you how to improve your focus.
- Blasting High-Speed Internet (completely secure).
- Soundproof booths.
- Livestreaming conference rooms.
- Podcast recording rooms.
- Video recording studios.
Because we minimize distraction, people are not worried about cooking, so they focus solely on work. All the food is being prepared for them by our cooks. What kind of food? Brain food. We all know that sugar and processed foods harm our mental abilities and fog our brains. Our mental performance declines and our thinking stagnate. Large high-tech companies take exceptionally well care of their employees and invest in their well-being. They realize: the healthier their employees are – the better work they do. Our “brain food” menu is designed in collaboration with leading nutritionists in the field of human brain. Our meal plan provides people’s brains with all it needs to work at the maximum capacity.
Breathing instructors will be working with our clients to help them achieve the level of performance they desire. Science knows that with breathing you can control your body’s states and as a result – mental performance. With shallow, rapid breathing, you can get your body in a fight or flight state or in the state of relaxation. A person cannot create anything meaningful or creative in a stressful state or a fight-or-flight. People need to relax to be able to focus. Our breathing instructors will teach people different breathing techniques and educate consul them on any related questions. When people return back home, they will be bringing an extra skill with them.
High speed secure internet. Internet security is priority for a lot of tech companies. You probably heard about hacker’s attacks on Zoom during pandemic. You are not concerned about security when chatting with friends and family, attending online classes or taking courses. However, if you are a senior executive, CEO or manager and you run a publicly traded company – information security becomes a priority. Beside the fact that our conference rooms and phone booths are soundproof, you can be confident that everything you say will not leave the walls of our place unless you want.
Podcast recording booths. Podcasting is really popular right now. Thousands of podcasters produce content on apple podcasts. If you are one of them, we have recording studio set up for your use. You can work there on your own or invite your guests to record the audio professionally.
If you make a living by producing video content, you will have entire professional video recording space at your disposal at any time 24/7.
Live streaming conference rooms. If you were to be Steve Jobs, you could easily make a video presentation of the next iPhone XX from our live streaming room.