There have been a number of knock-on effects from the shift to location independent working. As a consequence, coworking spaces are becoming more essential in the shift to this new way of working. And the industry is expected to get even bigger in the post-pandemic era.
Those who have gained better job flexibility no longer need to live in the city. And are now opting for homes in rural areas. While working from home allows more freedom, maintaining a work-life balance is still a challenge.
With this, rural coworking becomes an even bigger need. What exactly is Rural coworking and how is it different from the coworking that most people know?
The difference of rural coworking
Rural coworking offers many of the same amenities and services as its urban counterparts. The real difference is the relationship of these coworking spaces with their community.
While urban coworking can operate based on hotdesking and without a deep integration into its surrounding community, Rural Coworking offers its community the opportunity to grow with it. When a coworking space is established in a rural area, it attracts people from neighbouring areas. In turn, micro-businesses also grow in their immediate vicinities such as cafes, and restaurants.
Viktoria Heinzel, a member of the German Coworking Federation and the Research Group on Collaborative Spaces shares some insight into Rural Coworking. And how it benefits not only its user but also the community around it.
She states that Rural Coworking fosters cooperation and solidarity in these tiny societies. It breaks down the self-isolation of home offices and fosters collaboration amongst creatives. The elder generation and people in other fields like education and tourism are making use of these rural areas. And it creates new interdisciplinarity synergies.
Rural coworking spaces help to build a stronger and more dedicated local community. And as a result of the new remote-working and studying culture, rural areas expect to gain in the long run.
Rural coworking in a pandemic
Rich Mills of The Hatchery shares his sentiments about the effect of the pandemic on rural coworking in an interview with London Coworking Assembly. As a co-founder of The Hatchery, he believes that rural coworking has helped with the growth in its community by providing a solution to a need. Rural coworking during the pandemic has helped freelancers and remote workers alike enjoy a productive environment when working from home has proven to be a challenge as well.
“The aftermath of the pandemic has seen a number of societal trends accelerated or developed that are very much aligned with our business plan. Working closer to home, avoiding the commute, having that greater flexibility,” Mills said of the pandemic’s impact on their company strategy and the market.
Mills then adds: “when people lose jobs or businesses due to COVID, coworking spaces enable them to work every day or part-time without paying the same costs. They also help people connect, meet local business owners, and find new employment opportunities.”
The COVID-19 pandemic definitely put this model to the test, but it also created new possibilities because of the increasing adoption of remote working.
What rural coworking offers
Rural coworking spaces do not differ that much from what we know coworking to be. They also provide the same amenities and services that their urban counterparts have.
Rural Coworking offers lower desk rent costs. Some even offer 24/7 services as a commute in rural areas may not be open in the late evenings. While these points are tempting enough, what rural coworking offers is a productive environment and the community within its walls. And an aesthetic window view is just a bonus aspect of rural coworking.
Aside from this, rural coworking is a hub for entrepreneurship. Many startups are utilising the cost-effective use of these spaces to build their businesses. And it gives them the opportunity to connect and build relationships with a diverse network of professionals.
Rural communities often have close-knit social networks, but coworking spaces provide a means to strengthen and expand professional relationships. These cities’ coworking spaces offer a more diverse age structure, providing members with excellent chances to transfer information across generations. It creates an opportunity for different people to connect and build networks that they otherwise would have a hard time doing in a corporate office setting.
The need for rural coworking
Coworking will not go away. Coworking was here to stay prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but the changes in workplace dynamics have solidified its status as a preferred workplace choice.
Coworking spaces have developed into the expected and desired workplace for today’s workers. This is more true than ever, especially as more companies transition to permanent remote work options in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak. Companies that utilise hybrid work models include flexible workspace solutions in their real estate plans to fulfil the requirements of remote workers in various locations and countries.
As a result, workers who opt to relocate to rural areas are most likely to look for rural coworking spaces rather than work at home where there are distractions all around. Rural coworking spaces provide the proper working environment for remote workers without having to go to cafes where they can only stay for a limited period of time.
These workspaces give a proper work-life balance compared to working from home. The commute to work is less, and they have a productive environment that their corporate offices provide. Aside from that, the time they spent before travelling long hours can now be spent with their families. And has proven to be beneficial not only for the employees but to their employers as well as productivity rises.
This trend shows signs of growth. But there’s still much room for improvement. Rural coworking must be an alternative for the growing number of freelancers. To do so, it must offer all the basic amenities needed by its users. This does not only include high-speed internet access. The power supply, kitchen facilities, are utilities that need to be factored in as well. Besides offering the best possible experience for its clients, it should be sustainable too.