Coworking post-COVID-19 will be different from what we’ve seen till now, and that’s beyond any doubt. Looking back to its roots, we can surely say that the Coworking movement has come a long way since it’s inception during the Great Recession in 2008.
Coworking 1.0 started in 2008 as these small hubs and hackerspaces for freelancers and small startups that needed to be part of a community and affordable office without commitment during the hard times of the recession. Over the next few years, the demand for flexible workspace skyrocketed and it evolved into something much bigger.
Coworking 2.0 offered a wide variety of workspace and business services, beautiful locations, high-end facilities, solid infrastructure, and a vibrant community, all wrapped in a well-designed brand. Coworking 2.0 became the way of working for many small and mid-size businesses and was also adopted by some enterprises. Flexible Working was rapidly revolutionizing the entire office industry until it faced an existential threat in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ongoing crisis is a huge challenge for the entire real estate industry including Coworking and Flexible Workspaces. The uncertainty is growing and the only constant today is “change“. Coworking post-COVID-19 will be different! The good news for our industry is that flexible workspaces are agile by definition. They can and will evolve much faster than the traditional office, offer better services, and as a result not just survive the crises but also, take a much larger portion of the office market!
Coworking 3.0 offers even more flexible options in collaboration with their landlords. The office of the future will provide better facilities in the form of more space through better capacity planning and high-quality fresh air. Coworking 3.0 offers more business and virtual services to satisfy the need of the business community. They also provide deeper work-life integration. Coworking 3.0 is more technologically advanced, efficient, automated, and cost-effective.
Coworking 3.0 is the ultimate workspace service of the digital age!
Although community is the most important element of every coworking space, it is now more important than ever that every facility promotes health and safety according to the best standards!
The Coworking and Flexible workspace industry proved that Workspace as a Service is the product that many businesses need in today’s dynamic environment. The social distancing, the challenges we’re facing today and the economic downturn we’re heading to will amplify the need for flexibility. Not many businesses will sign long term leases in this environment, if ever again when the business predictability is close to zero. As a result, the demand for flexible workspaces will increase.
There’s a big problem though – the density of the current offices, including the coworking spaces. Most coworking and flexible workspaces are built out for the most optimal occupancy rates usually resulting in less square feet per member. Going forward this approach will not be perceived well by members. Social distancing is here to stay and the industry will have to adapt to it! There’s a need for better space and capacity planning that allows for more space per member. There are various ways to achieve this and we’re already working on new OfficeRnD features to guide you in this direction.
Other than the 2-dimensional space planning, the coworking and flexible workspace facilities should also revisit their HVAC systems and more specifically the air conditioning. A strong, high-quality fresh air induction system is proven to reduce virus outbreaks and improve the peoples’ overall health. Now is more important than ever to start discussions with your landlord about the HVAC system, understand the current limitations and work on plans to improve it together.
If there’s one thing that has already changed, that is the people’s perception of cleanliness and the desire for more frequent disinfection. All common areas, office spaces, desks, phone booths should be cleaned more frequently than ever before.
With the spread of the coronavirus across the world, Virtual offices are becoming an essential necessity as more and more companies will be in need of a business address without physically renting a desk or an office. Virtual offices can also drive in steady and growing additional revenue that flex and coworking spaces can rely on.
A Virtual office is an element of the flexible workspace industry that provides businesses with any combination of services, space and/or technology, without those businesses bearing the capital expenses of owning, leasing, or licensing an actual office space.
The typical virtual office product consists of providing 3 main services:
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. The era of the big head office is over! Most businesses will plan to significantly reduce their long-term lease commitments in favor of more flexible terms and more workspace options for their employees.
After a couple of months of lockdown and working at home, we believe that millions of people will be eager to work from somewhere else, anywhere else. Working from home is amazing! We all feel very productive. We save a lot of time. We help the environment since we’re not commuting. It is amazing – but it can be also very dangerous as there’s no clear boundary between our work life and our ‘non-work’ life.
The coworking and flexible workspaces can do an amazing job to help all those people to adopt remote and flexible working and understand the fact that there’s no need for a boundary. Instead, there’s a need for understanding and integration of the work-life. The coworking communities can be the driving force to not just promote remote and flexible working but take it to a whole new level and making coworking the way of working!
On one hand, the crisis will change the perception toward efficiency & cost-effectiveness of our industry forever. Coworking and Flexible Workspaces should turn into profitable, sustainable businesses that can easily whether storms and downturns. Of course, the more efficient and cost-effective your operations are, the more profitable your business will be. Technology plays a key role in your business efficiency today and you should consider investing in technology that can automate as many processes as possible.
On the other hand, technology is more important than ever to keep your community engaged during and post the coronavirus crisis. Proactive and timely communication with your members might be even more critical in the upcoming months, so you can make sure that your members are safe and aware of the most up-to-date instructions.
Our revamped Member Tools will help you keep your community close and can serve as a single contact point for all crisis-related communication.
Guides to help you get started:
We also released 2 major components that will help you with serving your community online and keeping your members engaged:
Coworking 3.0 is the ultimate workspace service of the digital age! The new wave of spaces will provide better facilities in the form of more space through better capacity planning and high-quality fresh air. Coworking 3.0 offers more business and virtual services to satisfy the need of the business community. They also provide deeper work-life integration. Coworking 3.0 is more technologically advanced, efficient, automated, and cost-effective.
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