Hong Kong-based coworking operator TheDesk has yet to see a slowdown despite being in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected about 1,000 residents to date.
In fact, according to CEO Thomas Hui, the company signed up 25% new members in the first quarter of this year compared to the quarter prior.
Additionally, The Executive Centre leased 33% more desk space in the first quarter from the year earlier. According to CEO Paul Salnikow, companies are looking to save cash and not commit to long-term leases.
In Singapore, where a government-ordered shutdown is in place, many workers have been forced to stay at home and employers could face fines if they do not enforce these mandates.
This is the case for coworking spaces in many places, as these facilities shut down to only offer basic services like banking and mailing. Some spaces remain open to essential businesses, but as most tenants at coworking facilities are technology firms, the lockdown has hurt several operators such as JustCo.
Kong Wan Sing, CEO of JustCo, said 17 of its centers are closed to most workers and usage has declined overall. It is also struggling to receive rent relief from landlords, despite the government offering a property tax rebate to alleviate financial strain on commercial tenants.
“The challenge for a multinational is that if you put your staff at a coworking space, can you guarantee that you create a safe environment?” said Tim Armstrong, head of occupier services and commercial agency for Asia-Pacific at Knight Frank LLP.