Although the majority of the world is experiencing a second or third wave of COVID-19 cases, coworking operators remain confident about the future of the industry.
According to a new Workthere survey of global providers, 42% of operators are optimistic about the sector’s future, up 40% from July. Even more, over three-fourths of providers said they were optimistic or very optimistic about coworking’s outlook over the next year.
“What we’re seeing as we progress through this pandemic period is that market participants are behaving rationally in the face of uncertainty,” said Ted Skirbunt, national director at Workthere Americas. “Many small- to mid-sized tenants are not renewing traditional leases upon expiration, seeking more flexible solutions, and there are more opportunities out there to secure flexible space at deep discounts to even just a few months ago.”
Another recent report from Colliers revealed that 90% of flexible workspace users anticipate an increase in flexibility within leases, which seems to be a recurring theme that operators are eager to capitalize on.
However, the industry has been facing an uncertain future even prior to the pandemic. In 2019, WeWork’s tumultuous attempt to go public revealed foundational issues for many operators. Now, as millions of people continue to work from home, providers have either had to limit their services or close completely.
In fact, coworking firms contributed 1.2 million square feet of returned office space to landlords in Manhattan since the beginning of the pandemic.
This has led firms to rethink their operational strategies moving forward by focusing on which markets are doing well and others that are struggling.