The Corona Virus has slipped over the world in many ways and has totally changed the way people used to work. The virus has affected lives and businesses. The real estate sector has been largely impacted by commercial leasing and buying has become even more expensive. The coworking industry has also seen ups and downs during the lockdown and now it’s started to bounce back after a long time. The future of coworking spaces post covid-19 is still secure but there are a lot of changes the industries will witness.
- Office spaces will always be required: Physical office spaces will never lose their importance as individuals and people will keep needing them for their operations. Working from home is comfortable but can induce monotony, boredom and affect mental health in the long run. A person would have to search for cafes or other public places to have a professional meeting if required. Because they are flexible, value for money and offer amazing services, they’ll always be preferred over working from home.
- Health first: There is no denying that businesses would keep needing workspaces and coworking would be their first for the monetary advantages and services they offer. But since life has become unpredictable and we can expect another wave any time, businesses have prepared themselves to stay safe by maintaining social distance and having safe interactions. Coworking spaces are expected to take better care of the hygiene of the place and the safety of members to retain them.
- Adaptation of new technology: With machine learning and artificial intelligence, the world is at the point of technology disruption. As much as large companies would love their employees to be working from coworking spaces, they would be happier with offices that are more technically advanced for smooth operations. Mobile apps, analytical tools, IoT, visitor management systems are some of the examples that shared working spaces have adopted. These advancements are often sought out by big clients to provide a top-class experience to their employees.
- Demand from large corporations: Big companies would rather choose a flexible office space than a traditional office to avoid huge capital expenses. Compared to the traditional workspaces, more businesses are adopting a shared space work model that provides a bouquet of services and a managed office which is a good indication of the future of coworking spaces post covid-19. They are definitely going to occupy a great portion of the commercial portfolio of the country.
- De-densification at the office: De-densification is the process of reducing office crowd by rotating attendance, expanding floor space, adding virtual offices or rearranging the layout of the existing space. Shared spaces today offer a complete business ecosystem and can form ways for new techniques, de-densify office space and provide a better adaptive work environment. This would be essential to get large companies on board.
- Mergers and consolidations: Alliances and partnerships are an increasing trend amongst brands these days. Smaller players are interested to merge with organized units to form a synergy and better association. With global investors, multinational enterprises and established firms showing their inclination towards coworking, the day is not far when smaller players will be taken over by them and mergers will be witnessed.
To survive, the coworking industry has to undergo a few modifications to line up with the new way of conduct. To keep positioning itself as a practical and sustainable option, the space providers would need to customize their offices. The future of shared workspaces has vast potential with a bit of improvement in the wellness measures. An all-around safety in place would go a long way with new and existing clients.
Above we discussed the possible changes the shared spaces will have to go through to secure the future of coworking spaces post covid-19. Now we shall discuss some of the trends the workspaces around the globe will have to adapt to avoid uncertainties.
- Increase in remote working: The global pandemic has proved that everyone can work from home irrespective of the job role and work profile. This would continue to happen even after Covid-19 for most of the job profiles. The companies would now have to change the goal/performance evaluation and measurement criteria.
- Improved data collection: Since there would be remote working, technologies like in & out virtual clocking, monitoring employee emails, company chat/conversation, tracking of computer usage etc would be used even more to note the contributed hours per day per employee. Apart from the health and safety data, HRs will know how to maintain remote working hours data as well.
- Humanization of employees: while some companies were very considerate and empathised with their employees in the time of crisis, others were simply treating their manpower as machined. People have reportedly worked a number of extra hours even on their day offs. Pushing the employees to work with little support has impacted their physical and mental well-being. Measures would be taken to have a mindful approach with employees working from home and not treat them differently than on-site workers.
- Employer’s role in employees’ safety: As many space providers have to work for the future of coworking spaces post covid-19, the employers too would have to extend their role in employees’ well-being. Financial assistance, flexible working hours, child care services, sick leaves and similar support should be provided to help and retain them.
Coworking spaces: The new age workspaces
Corporations, in no time, have adapted to the unforeseen challenges of Covid-19 by facilitating their teams to work from home to keep the business going. Remote working has been benefiting both parties for there has been a saving of both time & money. Working from home and minimising costs has been a great way of going in an economic slowdown where real estate prices were shooting high and businesses were having a hard time paying rents.
With affordable membership plans and shorter lock-in agreements of shared offices, small and medium ventures have a larger platform to explore. Business owners can maintain a healthy cash flow without having their money blocked, thanks to the coworking industry. The virtual office solution is a boon to digital nomads and hot desking is most convenient for individual professionals who often need to meet people for work. People have been reaping the benefits of flexible offices and hence, it’s more likely to become the thing of the future.
The future is flexible
Today, work and workplaces are changing. The new generation doesn’t go by the conventional style of working but rather needs flexibility and freedom with their work. Confined working hours and cubicles have always been affecting productivity and fresh ideas but not anymore.
The office spaces of the future need to be dynamic and adaptive to face the sudden economic and environmental shocks. These workspaces are flexible in layout, capacity, lease terms and membership flexibility. You can also move your business to another city with the same coworking if they have an office in that location in the same plan as well.
Coworking spaces will be the game changer post Covid-19
While working from home seemed like a very comfortable concept of working during the pandemic, it does come with various challenges. Employees have been struggling with overtime and being overworked. There have been network problems, communication issues, productivity and operational efficiencies.
Managing deadlines along with home duties have majorly affected the mental health of the employees. With no managerial support, the backing of the peers and little coffee breaks, the virtual work life is extremely opposite of the smooth and coordinating workplace. There are no brainstorming meetings, no exchange of ideas and no immediate help if you are working remotely. Working from home has served with more difficulties than simplifying life.
Even once the pandemic situation is over and people enter into their normal work lives, there would continue to be a demand for physical spaces and thereby for shared spaces. The future of coworking spaces post covid-19 is definitely brighter and can be only seen escalating. The unique offerings, sustainability and cost effectiveness will continue benefiting their current and prospective clients.