The Cape, COVID, & the Challenges of Remote Work

WFH blog 10 13 2020

Back in February (when the world was a very different place) we wrote about the rise of Coworking - particularly in non-urban markets - and why we think it’s such a great fit for a place like Cape Cod.

Our rationale was simple - the Cape offers a tremendous amount in terms of quality of life, and recent advances in communication technologies have made it feasible for businesspeople and entrepreneurs to relocate here and still find a way to do their jobs. We saw this as a meaningful trend for the area even before we started Chatham Works, and in the short time we've been open we've already seen multiple examples of people moving their families and their corporate jobs to the Cape.

And that was even before COVID.

Long Term Impacts for the Cape Remain Unknown

COVID has brought about a mass forced experiment with remote work, and a mini exodus from urban areas. Real estate values on the Cape have rocketed higher - particularly for higher end properties. Our anecdotal observations suggest that at least some of these new transplants have decided to make the Cape their new permanent home.

While the full scope of the long term effects for the Cape remain unknown, we think it's safe to assume that the fallout from COVID absolutely will have some lasting impacts on our area.

Remote Is Here to Stay

While we don't yet know how long the pandemic will last, it seems clear that for many knowledge workers the shift to more remote work will be permanent.

A recent survey of CFOs noted that they planned to shift 20% of their employees to remote work permanently to save costs. Another recent survey from Boston Consulting Group found that companies expect about 40% of their employees to follow a remote-working model in the future.

Overall, workers seem to be happy about that. A recent study by PWC found that 72% of office workers want to work remotely at least two days a week moving forward, and a third (32%) say they’d prefer to never have to go into the office.

But "Work from Home" Doesn't Always Work

Many have found that working from home isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be.

Some of the issues relate to more technical considerations like collaboration tools and connectivity. (How many of us have noted that our home internet connections have seemed more sluggish since COVID?)

But for many - and especially for people with children - maintaining productivity and work/life balance can be a huge challenge. Unless you're fortunate enough to be able to sequester yourself in an isolated and properly "dialed in" home office, staying productive can seem almost impossible at times. And even under the best of circumstances, working from home can make it almost inevitable that your home/family life and work life will intrude on each other.

If that sounds familiar, you're not alone.

One recent survey found that over two-thirds (67%) of respondents are finding it harder to maintain work-life separation while working from home, and over one-third (36%) said their work hours had actually increased since working from home.

The PWC study found that 38% of remote workers cite the challenge of balancing work with home duties such as childcare as the #1 obstacle to their productivity.

Another recent survey of remote workers by Chubb Insurance found that 60% of respondents reported that distractions from family, housemates or pets sometimes make it difficult to work from home.

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Dedicated, Flexible Workspaces Could be the Solution

Industryobserversagree that coworking spaces like Chatham Works' dedicated 2nd floor workspace could be the solution for suburban knowledge workers who are struggling to work from home. We offer a clean, quiet, and minimalist but professional work environment that has been specifically designed to meet the needs of remote workers and entrepreneurs.

Our Workspace members have found that getting out of the house and into a purpose-built, dedicated work environment can be a complete game-changer. Making the move has enabled them to regain (and enhance) their productivity, and by creating a firewall of sorts between their work and family lives they've also been able to improve things on the home front too.


Are you wondering if perhaps our workspace might be a good choice for you? If so, please contact us to arrange a tour and find out about our current availability.