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Brief Published: 29 Apr 2020

Coworking Offers Virtual Support with WFH Challenges

Coworking companies are launching group challenges to connect homebound members

Coworking companies are getting inventive to retain community cohesion amidst government-mandated work-from-home policies for non-essential employees. Both Toronto’s coworking space Make Lemonade and Sydney’s Frankly have launched virtual WFH support groups – a clever move that exemplifies the flexible schemes we highlight in Work Rewired.

Despite the fact that UK support for work-from-home (WFH) schemes rose to 66% from 44% as the Covid-19 crisis escalated (Statista, 2020), this widespread support doesn’t translate into widespread home-working skills. To address this gap, Toronto female-only coworking space Make Lemonade co-ordinated a four-week remote-working bootcamp to help members adapt. The programme was limited to 40 participants in order to foster an intimate atmosphere. Spots for its debut March session filled up so quickly the company decided to host a second April edition. Spotting an opportunity to get non-members hooked on the accountability and community belonging, Make Lemonade instituted free hour-long virtual coworking taster sessions every Tuesday afternoon. 

This group-accountability structure is also finding success in Australia, where Sydney’s women-only coworking company Frankly devised a similar four-week programme. Its group was open to both members and non-members seeking an elusive work-life balance. To get there, participants engaged in daily work sprints, then came together for social events, such as coffee breaks and end-of-week happy hours.

These virtual groups point to a flexible future for coworking, where working together no longer requires sharing a physical space. While coworking companies started to launch remote networking memberships before Covid-19 – such as a new members-only app from US female-focused club The Wing – the surge of WFH policies stand to accelerate this movement. 

For more on how consumers are transitioning to non-office working, see Hacks for the Home Office.