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Robbin Orbison moved to the Cape six years ago, with plans to continue her career as a real estate developer, working from home.
“I went crazy in the house,” she says.
So she changed her plans and founded CapeSpace, a full-service shared workspace. She spent a year planning, opened the first location on Independence Drive in Hyannis in 2016, and a second location in Mashpee Commons in 2019.
According to Orbison, what motivated her to start CapeSpace is also the number one reason people go to co-working spaces: to get out of the house and be around other people.
With the advent of COVID-19, Orbison thinks demand for shared workspaces will only increase.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work. Many offices were closed for months when the pandemic hit the country this past spring and many have yet to open to full capacity, given constraints about social distancing in the workplace. Companies had to rethink layouts and make sure there was ample distance ( 6 feet) between workstations, for example. Some companies may opt for remote workforces, putting a dent in conventional office spaces altogether.
The health crisis forced a rapid redesign of commercial office spaces, accelerated a trend toward flex work schedules and highlighted the importance of a well-designed home office.
“COVID forced companies to develop remote work plans, they found it works pretty well. Everyone is predicting a major shift in the way employers house employees, and that shift will consist of multiple work locations,” Orbison says.
Having multiple locations might mean employees stay mostly at home, have occasional meetings at headquarters, and also have the option of using a shared office near their home that doesn’t require mass transit.
“Flex operators like me will fill the gap,” she says.
Without the COVID-19 pandemic, Orbison says this new approach would have taken years to evolve.