The commercial real estate industry has been upended due to the coronavirus as companies abandon their offices to work from home. Companies who take out long-term office leases are stuck in limbo as they can no longer afford to pay rent.
While this crisis is painful for struggling businesses, it does open a new opportunity for the flexible office industry. Although this sector is undoubtedly scrambling to stay afloat at the moment, once the dust settles, companies will more than likely lean towards short-term, flexible leases. This will force landlords to consider offering shorter leases in order to attract tenants.
Current circumstances may allow coworking and flexible offices to be poised as the preferred workspace option, but the numerous providers that have popped up over the past few years won’t all survive. Those who are well-capitalized will be in a strong position to acquire smaller operators.
Still, many flexible offices feature open office spaces and shared workspaces, so there will be a need to change the model to put greater emphasis on personal space, health and hygiene.
Overall, landlords will need to make major changes to their traditional leasing models if they want to attract and retain tenants.