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The outbreak of the covid pandemic last spring triggered the first major crisis for many or probably most providers of the recent decade´s tremendous and successful coworking wave.
According to a research of 600 coworking companies by Coworking Insights, since March space memberships and contract renewals dropped 40%, and membership inquiries 70%.
From March to September, the world´s largest flex-office provider WeWork - and many with them - lost desks and enormous amounts of revenue, as office buildings emptied in response to first and second waves of the corona.
But now, with coronavirus vaccines bringing much-needed optimism, the coworking industry and commercial real estate owners worldwide are viewing an imminent comeback for all impatient users, providers, and investors of the coworking spaces and businesses.
"The pandemic hit us exactly where it hurt the most - on flexibility, the keyword of the entire coworking ideology and movement," CEO & Co-Founder at the Spanish coworking business Monday, Xavi Bassons explains.
"In a health crisis like the one we are going through, this flexibility becomes a double-edged sword, because just as a company can rent office space for 20 employees overnight, it can decide to quit the next month."
From one day to the next, the fear of spreading the corona infection turned the flex
and coworking spaces less attractive and appealing. Fear and caution kept many of
the coworkers safe at home. Photos: iStock
Despite everything, Bassons is optimistic about the future, because despite all the difficulties there is a ray of hope. The pandemic helped many entrepreneurs to rethink the way they work and how they work.
"In the long term, the trend towards coworking will accelerate by the crisis. A rethink has already begun, especially in sectors where flexibility and technology are decisive.
Many entrepreneurs already acknowledge the many advantages by renting co-working spaces for employees near their private homes as a useful alternative to the large headquarter offices."
Remote work fatigue
During the pandemic, the fear of spreading the covid infection turned coworking and flex spaces less attractive and appealing. Fear and caution kept the coworkers safe at home.
Millions of global office workers have become comfortable with telework, but that doesn’t mean all those remote workers would prefer to work from home forever. On the contrary!
Covid-19 hit the coworking industry where it hurt the most - on keyword flexibility.
The corona turned this flexibility to a double-edged sword allowing coworkers and
companies to leave and quit overnight, so to say.
On the other side of the corona lockdown, thousands of them will go crazy in their small apartments and be eager to work from anywhere else other than home - e.g. in a quiet, nearby workspace away from disturbing family life.
Coworking offers a perfect solution for many people who are tired of working from home and need a place to connect, network, get inspired, and perform.
In the wake of the worldwide lockdown, the coronavirus developed and accelerated the demand for co-working spaces by forcing so many office companies and employers to shift to new alternative working patterns.
Companies of all sizes are in the process of minimizing their workspaces and detaching their offices. Many of them already offer their employees the opportunity to work in coworking spaces - a trend that will continue.
On the other side of the corona lockdown, thousands of office employees will be
most impatient to return to usual workdays anywhere else other than home - e.g.
in a nearby coworking space away from disturbing family life.
A study of over 550 commercial real estate professionals by the consulting company EY showed that 97% expect large corporations to look for more tailored and flexible office space shortly. 66% predict flexible lease contracts to become the new normal.
The global accounting giant PwC still holds coworking as one of the best-rated real estate investment prospects of 2021. Flex options predict to comprise 30% of the office market by 2030, compared to 5% now. ●
Telegraph.co.uk: Is coworking about to make a comeback?
Entrepreneur.com: Will Co-Working Studios Survive COVID-19?
Hrnews.co.uk: 5 ways 2020 will reshape coworking and flex office
Finance.yahoo.com: Coronavirus battered the co-working industry,
now it is making a comeback