The pandemic has caused coworking companies to uproot their operational strategies, and now experts are expressing concern that the industry is not working at all.
Some of the world’s largest operators have been forced to close locations and continue to lose money due to millions of workers opting to work from home. For instance, IWG CEO Mark Dixon revealed the company could close up to 100 locations during the second half of 2020, while Knotel saw a 20% drop in revenue during the second quarter.
One of the main issues of these workspaces is their naturally open, sometimes dense nature. Many coworking spaces thrive as a place for professionals from all corners of the workforce to connect and collaborate, but the pandemic means that distancing in the workplace is a necessity.
However, despite the dark cloud that has blanketed the industry, closures have made up a small percentage of total coworking footprints. According to Scott Homa, Head of Office Research at JLL, this is due in part because many companies receiving rent relief.
“Many people are now just becoming comfortable with telework for the first time and figuring out all sorts of ways to make it smooth,” said Dean Stangler, Forbes contributor. “That could mean more employees and employers become comfortable with it. But that doesn’t mean all those remote workers will work at home forever. After a couple of months of lockdown and working at home, my guess is that millions of people will be eager to work from somewhere else, anywhere else.”