Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many experts were lauding the business model for its flexibility and forward-thinking approach – a revolution in the way we work. In fact,
Rob Speyer, commercial firm Tishman Speyer CEO, dubbed coworking the “biggest disruption to real estate since the invention of the elevator,” according to Realtor Magazine. But now, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every facet of work and personal life, leaving many to wonder if coworking really is here to stay. Here are 7 things to know about the new approach to coworking spaces in the wake of COVID-19.
- Floor plans must accommodate social distancing. One key reason many businesses are delaying a return to the office is the sheer physical challenge of enabling social distancing. Coworking spaces also have to review floor plans to ensure employees feel safe returning to work.
- Contactless technology can make a big impact. Reducing frequently contacted spaces can help curb the spread of the virus, and literally everyone has to access the building. At HEXA, our employees access the building with smartphone technology, ensuring one less key or access code that needs a slew of hands-on it.
- Shared desks can’t be the only option. The concept of sharing anything with someone outside your immediate family feels a little foreign right now, as many have been sticking to home and keeping to themselves. Darren Comber, chief executive of Scott Brownrigg, notes how the industry was booming recently, but suspects companies are going to rethinking close mingling with other businesses. More coworking spaces will need to offer additional options for companies interesting in cutting down contacts, like HEXA’s dedicated desk or private office solutions.
- Business leaders are rethinking their corporate space. More than a third (35.7%) of respondents in a recent NAI Partners’ survey said they may take less office space in the future, according to the Business Journals. And as employers increasingly embrace flexibility and remote for their employees, it’s more likely they’ll turn to furnish office space that can match that flexibility – in the form of coworking spaces. In some cases, Realtor Magazine predicts, this may look like a shift from leases to revenue-sharing agreements with landlords.
- Fresh air plays a key role. To reduce the ability to spread the virus, office spaces will need to ensure proper ventilation or climate control. And coworking spaces can help members still enjoy a major advantage of shared spaces – the networking and interaction – by providing access to outdoor spaces that allow members to mingle in a distanced, safe way.
- Neighborhood working hubs will rise. Feeling ready to go back to the office is very different from feeling confident taking public transportation, accessed a closed-in parking garage, and navigating packed downtown streets. By providing a coworking space in a more accessible location to professionals home, entire teams no longer have to commute to a single office. On a GCUC UK panel in May, Natasha Guerra from Runway East predicted local spaces would come out ahead when the crisis abates.
- We can work from home, but we want a better space. In this unintentional mass remote work experiment, we’ve learned work can indeed be managed from home. But many people have also found they expect – even need – more from a place to work. Chris Davies of Uncommon said the COVID-19 crisis has actually sped up a realization that people want to return to the office because it doesn’t always work perfectly at home. “Our challenge is to provide better space,” Davies said. “They want better space that keeps them healthy and safe – and that has moved up the rankings.”
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, coworking spaces will need to meet not only basic business services needs, but also enable workers to address wellness holistically, to truly make the space better than a home office.
Are you rethinking your working space?
This time has forced us all to rethink the way we work, and now is the time to design a working situation that meets not just your criteria for productivity, but can also assuage your health concerns and support overall employee wellness. HEXA was founded for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, and our integrated coworking ecosystem offers amenities and services designed to nourish the innovator’s mind, body, and spirit – bringing you peace of mind for today and a powerful position for the future. Come see for yourself today by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or book a tour.