I have noted the pandemic driven trend to dispersed, hybrid workspaces.
This summer, Aayat Ali gives me the word we didn’t know we needed: Zoom Towns .
Forced to work from home, some workers have moved out of city centers to suburban or exurban homes. Remote work works fine as long as you’ve got connectivity, so why not get out of a depressing shut down city?
And some places have been trying to entice workers to move there, with subsidies and other presents. These “Zoom Towns” hope to beef up local economies with a slice of the talent and jobs that have been concentrated in the major cities, especially on the coasts.
As Ali’s title suggests, it’s not clear how long this trend might be sustained.
On the plus side, this is certainly a trend that has been growing slowly, even before the pandemic. And it seems that many organizations have discovered that they can function without everyone being in the same office all the time. So there is a lot of talk about “hybrid” workspaces, with only some workers in the office some of the time.
On the other hand, some organizations either can’t or won’t go this way. So workers may soon face either longer commutes, relocation back to the city, or a change of job. (This summer is certainly seeing a lot of job changing.)
Coworking spaces might play a role in this hybrid working model. Remote workers have always been key customers for coworking spaces, in fact they are literally what coworking was invented for. So a successful “Zoom Town” will likely have quite a few coworking spaces, and, I would say, a variety of different coworking spaces. (With childcare.)
These spaces could provide a local community of “zoomers”, as well as on-demand meeting spaces for remote corporations and other features we haven’t realized we need.
Even better, the remote zoomers can mix and meet and collaborate with local workers, companies, and start ups; spreading knowledge and human networks out into the talent pools out here in flyover country.
So, if you want to try to succeed as a Zoom Town, I suggest you look to create a rich mix of coworking spaces.
- Aayat Ali, Zoom Towns: Fad Or Future?, in Allwork.space, July 12, 2021. https://allwork.space/2021/07/zoom-towns-fad-or-future/