- The health crisis has changed work and life as we know it, and triggered a global experiment testing the viability of remote working.
- Once quarantines are over, many people will gladly return to the workplace – but will they still be willing to share amenities, and share space?
- The anxiety caused by COVID-19 will take some time to wear off, and in the meantime, we will likely see increased demand for private space.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work forever. But, what does this mean for workplaces? More specifically, what does this mean for the coworking industry?
There’s been a lot of talk that from now on, people will increasingly work remotely, which is great news for the flexible workspace industry, particularly considering that many are working from home and possibly struggling with it due to spouses, kids, roommates, and pets in the house.
Once the storm has passed, it is likely that people who are allowed to keep working remotely will want to leave the house, and they may turn to coworking spaces and other flexible workspace solutions.
But here’s the thing: people might not be as willing to work in shared areas, where they are in close contact with others and have to share desk space.
Fear is a powerful thing and it will take some time before people are comfortable going back to ‘normal’.
This is the case for everything, from kissing and hugging as a greeting, to flying, eating out, going to the gym, the cinema, and sharing a workspace.
What does this mean for the flexible workspace industry?
Our sense of security has been entirely shaken by the coronavirus outbreak, with activities that we once took for normal now under close scrutiny.
While people will be eager to get out of the house once quarantines are over, the workplace will need to be reimagined to fit the new needs and demands of occupiers.
Flexible workspace operators, then, are likely to see an uptick in private office memberships or dedicated desks.
What can operators do?
Flexible workspace operators that are able to financially weather the storm might need to make some changes to their workspace locations. This will mainly be the case for coworking operators that have strongly focused on offering shared workspace areas for members.
“Operators will likely need to allocate at least 80% of their space to private offices,” real estate expert Giovanni Palavicini commented during a quick call with Allwork.Space.
Large meeting rooms might need to be transformed into smaller spaces or even into private workstations.
We are all currently part of a global experiment testing the viability of remote working. As more organizations embrace digital platforms to meet and collaborate, the physical spaces that previously supported these activities might become — though not entirely obsolete — much less common.
This will disrupt many business practices, from regular on-site meetings to business travel.
The good news for operators is that private offices tend to be a steady and stronger source of revenue when compared to shared areas. More importantly, people will likely be much more willing to pay for individual space in the future than they were in the past.
This is not the end of community, though.
Quite the contrary, community will continue to be a pillar of any workplace. If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s that we can be together even when we’re physically apart.
More importantly, now more than ever people have realized the value of human connection and support.
As we move into a post-pandemic world, community will likely take center-stage as people and organizations find ways to support one another.
This need for community will express itself in the built environment. People may not work in close proximity to others, but common areas like the kitchen and lounges are likely to continue to see activity… albeit a little less crowded.
The times they are a-changin’
The world has changed because of the pandemic and the impact of it will be long-lasting. Though there is light at the end of the tunnel, all of us will need to make changes to adjust to the new post-pandemic reality.
The way we shop, work, travel, and interact with one another have been disrupted to the very core. The workplace of tomorrow is one that will respond to the needs that will arise following this pandemic. We can’t know for sure what these will be, but it is likely that private offices will have a comeback.