The Future of Work

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On COVID19 post-pandemic job recovery, what is the role of co-working spaces and how will it affect the future of work in the Philippines and in particular, Cebu? Will flexible workspaces be the answer to one of the many concerns the COVID crisis has presented the world? The Company Cebu, a premier coworking space with branches in Cebu and Mandaue is getting ready to accommodate the rise in demand for flexible workspaces in Cebu.


With lockdown restrictions slowly being eased by the national and local government, work will soon resume in the country and for the rest of the world eventually, the cogs that run the economy will once again turn, but many fear not in the same way as before. Failing to adapt is failing to survive, as Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Given the current state of things, major changes will have to be made in response to the crisis. In an analysis done by economist Richard Baldwin, he claims that COVID19 will result in: massive job losses, massive digital transformations, massive debt burdens, and massive costs of socially distanced office space. A few months ago, back when everyone’s timelines did not come to a screeching halt, there were a lot of expectations and goals set that can no longer be feasible today, either because of the pandemic or because of the change of behavior he have observed from our collective consciousness brought about by the pandemic.


Let us discuss major predictions for the future of work in Cebu and in the Philippines and why flexible workspaces such as coworking hubs have room in that future.


Prediction 1: Remote work is on a rising trend

With professionals opting to work at the comfort of their own space and time, there will be an increase in remote workers. The importance of digital skills and linkages prove to be more important than ever. Reforms will be implemented in the organizational structure of some companies as the 2-month experiment of shutting down the economy will have the unintended effect of work-from-home schemes. Once restrictions are lifted, employers will start considering remote employment, spreading their workforce more broadly instead of in a unified structure. A growing body of research shows that remote working is far more productive than conventional work setups. This trend has been closely monitored since before COVID19, the pandemic only served to hasten its arrival.


Coworking spaces are long-known popular choices among remote workers and digital nomads who prefer to keep their own pace while simultaneously reinforcing network connections that is not as easily as accessible by working at home. Hubs like The Company Cebu provide a vast array of options depending on the client’s needs.


Prediction 2: Digital revolution will shape new work norms

More and more, we find that the world is shifting to a new era of virtual meetings instead of in-person discussions and dependence on telecommunication technology instead of non-digital methods. To prevail in a new world of expanded remote work, employers need to invest in digital flexibility and virtual collaboration. Workers need to remain competitive for digital services, companies must invest in their workforce the necessary skills needed to navigate this new space of interconnectivity. Teams will start adjusting to conference calls instead of in-person meetings. Less boardroom, more Zoom or Google Meet. A sense of community is what is lacking in this time of virtual transactions.


Coworking spaces encourage inter-clientele collaboration to create bonds with the community present. Everything goes above and beyond with coworking culture, beyond spaces for lease, they put importance on creating value for their mixed clientele.


Prediction 3: Co-working spaces will replace conventional office floors

With industries choosing to distribute a portion of their workforce in remote settings, it seems that demand for socially distanced office spaces will have a direct relationship to such rise. Instead of massive upscaled office floors housing densely populated cubicles and common rooms, downscaled and localized spaces with flexible work hours will be the cost-efficient option. The upkeep and maintenance of office real estate run the risk of crippling small companies with loans and debts. Companies no longer have to reinvest in hardware and bandwidth in scattered locations as that is already provided for in coworking spaces. On the issue of sanitation, it can be argued that coworking spaces are readily monitored and likely to be more manageable than full-scale office buildings teeming with hundreds of workers. Decongesting big office buildings is the way to go if a productive workforce is expected.


Coworking spaces provide ease and flexibility for companies than prefer short-term arrangements before committing long term. With the uncertainty of these times, it is an exercise in cautiousness to take everything a step at a time.


COVID19 did not just present health and economic problems, it is a multifaceted intersectional dilemma that can only be solved if the changes we adapt are systemic and broad enough to include all contingencies. To survive the problems that this global crisis has presented the world, companies must remain steadfast in accommodating changes.


The future of work is not set to stone, our predictions are only an attempt to demystify the largely unknown tomorrow. However, if there is anything more outstanding than the resiliency of the human spirit, it is our iron will to survive. And as they say, the only way to survive is through adaptation.

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