Although the coworking sector is surely struggling during this time, traditional offices with long-term leases will take a major hit post-pandemic.
This will lead even more corporations to reevaluate renewing long-term contracts and opting for more flexible leases.
Here are our thoughts around how the coworking space might look like post-COVID 19:
The global pandemic was the biggest digital transformation catalyst in the history of the world. Every business has been faced with the dilemma to either adopt remote working or just stop working.
As a result, now, most enterprises and large businesses are already talking about their new workplace strategies that involve remote working, hotdesking, and coworking.
I mean this is a conversation that has come up in many leadership webinars. While it was a trend predicted last year, it seems that the pandemic just fuelled it. In the coming days, we will see an increase in the number of corporate companies using coworking spaces.
Why? Not only does it allow them to save on the cost and commitment of traditional office leases but also lets them access talent and technology that they may not already have within their companies.
This is particularly beneficial when it comes to research and development. Aside from being full of people with a wide range of skills that can be called upon, coworking spaces are also designed in a way that inspires creativity, making them a more favourable environment for increasing productivity.
COVID-19 has taken a toll on social interactions but if anything, it has just highlighted the value and importance of being part of a community.
When lockdowns end, some businesses won’t reopen; some entrepreneurial dreams will be permanently hindered. Community strength will be essential in helping people re-connect, build new networks, and support each other.
That’s what effective coworking spaces do: they’re community hubs, essential sources of the Local Connectedness that will be a key ingredient in rebounding from the crisis.
Creativity comes from spontaneous comments and impromptu brainstorming with people that can see past company assumptions.
You can find support, talent and like-minded professionals, and it has a racially and ethnically diverse value that McKinsey found companies need to outperform industry norms by 35%.
Coworking spaces that understand the power and benefits of having a connected community will support members in many ways making sure that they are supported and continuously engaging in activities together, that right now can all be done online
Post-COVID, we will see an evolution that includes new policies that range from enhanced cleaning protocols to behavioural signage to encourage social distancing, and personal protective equipment, or PPE, for members and teams. This will probably cause everyone to feel safe.
Furthermore, as companies resume working from coworking spaces, they would expect a social distancing protocol to be in force within the workspace.
This would involve maintaining a minimum physical distance between coworkers at all times with the help of a modified office layout and more dispersed workstations.
It could also involve a policy that urges companies to work in shifts to ensure the coworking space isn’t brimming with people in close contact with each other.
There’s no escaping the fact that alongside coworking, the remote working trend is very much on the rise. The coronavirus pandemic is going to further the remote working trend and coworking spaces might be expected to extend the in-house facilities they provide to accommodate remote working employees too.
These virtual office benefits may include setting up a work WiFi network, a free software subscription, or a nearby gym membership for remote employees of the startups that primarily operate from the coworking space.
However, only time will tell if coworking spaces would be expected to extend benefits and amenities to suit remote work and if they’d be willing to
Moore importantly than ever coworking spaces will need to adopt technology to keep their community-engaged during and post the coronavirus crisis.
Proactive and timely communication with members might be even more critical in the upcoming months. In our case, during this period we have hosted a number of virtual webinars and ensured that we have a central communication channel for all our members to keep our community close and have it serve as a single contact point for all crisis-related communication.
We have also put in place systems that help us have virtual tours for our spaces. Well, this trend is not going away and probably coworking spaces will be a force to delve into other smart dynamic areas.
For example, post COVID maybe we will see more coworking operators outfit their spaces with the latest technologies, new wireless devices, and countless integrations of their coworking space management software.
All those gadgets, technologies, synchronized calendars and interactive dashboards will be controlled through a single unified interface. Innovations are aimed not to overwhelm residents but significantly improve and simplify their coworking experience.
Of course, post-COVIID, this is a trend that we might see an upward growth in. Traditional offices have seldom been known as places that prioritize health over function, something that is becoming increasingly important to working professionals.
Coworking operators know this, and in 2020, we can expect to see more shared places with a focus on promoting good office ergonomics.
Other health-centric amenities such as yoga classes, mediation rooms, and even gyms will also be popping up in higher frequency.