Typical coworking amenities include shared desks, community kitchens, foosball-ridden breakout rooms and more. But in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, shared workspaces are having to uproot these traditions in order to keep members safe.
The uncertainty has caused companies, such as Regus, to file bankruptcy for 91 affiliates. This was meant to offer some wiggle room for lease restructurings, or to slowly wind down operations at locations that did not seem sustainable.
Meanwhile, other operators have made major adjustments to their operations, including laying off workers and offering more virtual services. For instance, Regus requested rent tolerance from many of its landlords, but several refused.
While several organizations have dedicated to operating remotely for the foreseeable future, industry experts are prepared for demand in flexible office space to increase in place of signing long-term leases.
Since coworking companies take on the risk of a long-term lease, then sublease out their space in the short-term, it is the ideal option for companies who need office space to help distribute their workers.
“People are anxious to get back out of the house but waiting before they sign up for a longer term,” said Jason Deem, manager of St. Louis-based coworking firm Nebula.
Overall, it appears that while coworking operators have faced challenges over the past few months, the industry is expected to emerge victorious in the long run.