Survey points to future growth in co-working

The advent of COVID-19 has seen a dramatic increase in the number of Central Coast residents working from their homes, according to a survey by The Foundry Cowork into how Central Coast residents are working and living through the COVID pandemic.

As workers balance the advantage of not having to spend hours commuting against the challenges of working from home, including childcare and feelings of isolation, coworking spaces could be the solution, says one Erina-based coworking space.

The Foundry Cowork owner Mel Archer in interview with CCN

The survey focused on three key areas: mental health, supporting the greater Central Coast community and the future of work.

The Foundry Cowork owner, Mel Archer, said the survey found that prior to COVID, 45 per cent of respondents’ employers had a positive attitude toward working from home or remotely.

“Yet, despite this positive attitude, over 54 per cent of respondents haven’t had a discussion about remote working with their employer, meaning this aspect of their future employment is undetermined,” Archer said.

“While a discussion for many respondents is yet to happen, an alarming number of respondents aren’t aware if a flexible working agreement has been introduced.

“A flexible working agreement is critical for those employees whose workplace has been impacted by the pandemic.

“To have the discussion with your employer and look at potentially using facilities like The Foundry Cowork can be seen as a proactive step in keeping the momentum of work continuing.

“In many instances, employers will cover the cost of an employee using a coworking space as it gives the employer peace of mind that their employees are working from a professional and productive work environment.

“As a result, employee job satisfaction is increased, and absenteeism reduced so it’s really a win-win situation.”

Archer said the survey discovered the biggest difficulty faced by Central Coast residents when commuting to work prior to COVID was the amount of time spent travelling.

“For many Central Coast residents travelling time alone can take hours and ultimately this also impacts residents trying to maintain a positive work /life balance.,” she said.

“In a similar vein, when exploring the challenges of working from home or remotely 51 per cent of respondents said that distractions were the biggest challenge, followed by meeting childcare needs and overcoming issues related to social isolation/loneliness.

“I created The Foundry Cowork to help others who may have been feeling the way I was, which was that feeling of isolation when you work alone from home.

“The connectedness and ability to build relationships and business networks helps in a multitude of ways and as the survey has shown, the issue of connectedness really is a core issue that’s affecting Central Coast residents.”

Media release, Oct 20
The Foundry Cowork