Almost a year into the pandemic, working from home may be growing stale for some. While remote work has offered a solution for millions of people during the COVID-19 crisis, the months of trying to stay productive while isolated from co-workers – but crammed in with other members of your household – is taking its toll.
For starters, there’s a lack of physical space for those who don’t have the privilege of a home office. One survey by Hinge Health found that just one-third of people have dedicated office space in a separate room. Though most in the survey had a desk, many respondents say that they’ve been working at their dining table or on their sofa.
Another survey found that 59 per cent of workers say home distractions have been their biggest challenge. That’s no surprise considering that many of them live with partners, housemates or schoolchildren who are also working and schooling from home, making it nearly impossible to get into a work groove without interruption. And while Zoom meetings are helpful, having no in-person contact limits the opportunities for collaboration and impromptu creative discussions.
According to a blind study conducted by WeWork and brightspot strategy, those who returned to the office four to five days a week reported a 54 per cent increase in morale compared with those working from home. And in another study, the consensus was clear: the vast majority (90 per cent) of people say they want to return to the office at least one day a week; 20 per cent of that group wants to return for all five days. The same is true for university and postgraduate students. Students who attended university fully in person in Autumn 2020 were twice as satisfied as those who were fully online, according to a WeWork and brightspot study. In short, working from home doesn’t work for everyone.
Having access to a dedicated office space can offer solutions for companies, employees and students seeking a place where they can get work done without distractions. With small private offices and quiet areas, not to mention reliable Wi-Fi and technology equipment, WeWork locations can offer the escape that weary work-from-home staff and students desire.
Now anyone can easily work out of a WeWork location using the upcoming WeWork On Demand for daily usage, or WeWork All Access, a monthly membership that allows you to work in hundreds of buildings around the world. In these spaces, you’ll find various spaces designed with focus in mind. Here are some of them.
A living room workspace that works
If you’ve been stuck working on your sofa, chances are it probably doesn’t look like the serene setting that WeWork 320 Pitt St in Sydney provides. This cosy area offers the perfect set up for a quick catch-up with a colleague or for when you want to stretch out away from your desk for a few minutes.
An office with a view
If the view from your home ‘office’ over the last year has been piles of laundry in your bedroom or toy bins in your dark basement, you’ll appreciate this window seat at WeWork 33 Arch St in Boston. Having a nook to clear your head for a few minutes without interruption can lead to better focus for the rest of the working day.
Find some working day zen
No clutter, no children struggling with their virtual classroom connection, no spouse on speakerphone – just a calm, cushioned, quiet place to focus at WeWork Kamiyacho Trust Tower in Tokyo.
Take a break from household tasks
Natural light and lounge seating, as featured at WeWork Gotham Centre in Long Island City, NY, would be quite the departure from sitting hunched over your laptop at the kitchen table all day. When your brain needs a break, catching up on dirty dishes doesn’t count, but a quick escape to a space like this can help you get back in the zone.
Head to the phone box (not the bathroom)
For anyone who’s ever retreated to their bedroom, bathroom or wardrobe for an important client call or to record a podcast, these soundproof phone boxes at WeWork 1 Shankar St in Herzliya, Israel, would be a better option. The boxes offer privacy and prevent background noise – no hand-over-the-phone manoeuvring required.
Work in starry silence
In what almost looks like a visit to a planetarium, there’s no denying that this relaxation room at WeWork 10 York Rd in London is designed to inspire. Just think of the contrast between this quiet space and the chaos that is your kids’ or housemates’ at-home fitness class.
From comfy chair to corner office
If you’ve been working in small living quarters, you probably wish you could replicate the vibe at this WeWork Prolongacion Paseo de La Reforma 1025 in Mexico City. The floor-to-ceiling windows, ergonomic desk chairs and natural wood desks are much more conducive to detail-oriented work.
Swing into productivity
If only you could infuse a touch of the tropics into your makeshift living room office like WeWork 85 Broad St in New York does. The wicker swing seats and greenery promote calm and relaxation to help you wrap up that tricky task.
Silent work, no headphones needed
Cool, colourful waves and a plush chair and ottoman at WeWork Avenida de las Americas 1254 in Guadalajara, Mexico, offer a quiet corner to put your feet up and finish proofreading your project. It’s a total departure from the blasting TVs and game consoles that have been interfering with your working day afternoons since last March.
Enter an office haven
Everything you’ve been imagining in a private office space can be found at WeWork 2 Belvedere Dr in Mill Valley, CA. A large, uncluttered desk area, airy neutral colours and natural window light – and not a school science project in sight.
Contemplate and innovate
When was the last time you met a co-worker to get their feedback on an idea that didn’t involve having to mute your mic because of background chatter? WeWork Purpurina 400 in São Paulo, Brazil, showcases a breakout area that’s cosy, colourful and perfect for contemplative collaboration.
Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer who covers work, personal finance and higher education. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including US News & World Report, and on Monster.com. Follow her on Twitter.