WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF COWORKING SPACES POST COVID-19

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The coronavirus pandemic has served a global reality check. Even though the concept of social distancing pushed people away from each other, in-fact, brought the whole world closer; except maybe China. The Covid-19 has impacted each one of us in a major way and the world is still coping with the impact of this pandemic. One of its biggest impacts has been on the world economy, vis-à-vis businesses. It has completely changed the dynamics of how most of the major corporations worked.

This global pandemic has been a looming risk for decades, COVID-19 has come as a shock to society, health systems, economies, and governments worldwide.

After COVID-19 there is a risk that the world could be yet more divided, conflictual and nationalistic. But an alternative scenario is within reach. In this scenario, collective action within communities and, where necessary, internationally, will make a more rapid and peaceful exit from the crisis possible. The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the quality of governance and competence of the world’s leaders. In times of crisis, most people instinctively turn to their governments for protection and assistance. When politicians and civil servants fail to deliver, they quickly lose credibility and legitimacy. Emergencies reveal the health of the social contract. And in crisis, competence matters.

Covid-19 has seen a steep rise in the work from home or WFH model of working in all the major corporations of the world. According to Infosys COO, UB Pravin Rao, the company is considering a hybrid model, where some of the employees will continue working from home and others from office. The IT industry employs more than 40 lakh people with 90 percent working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

TCS is planning a 75:25 model, where 75 percent of the employees will work from home, while the rest 25 percent will have to work from their offices.

The Covid-19 pandemic may have put expansion plans of most businesses on hold. Also, Atmanirbhar Bharat, the vision of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, will give rise to a startup culture in India. These startups will need office spaces to grow their businesses.

Firstly, coworking space provides a great opportunity for not only these startups but also other corporations for the expansion of their businesses at a feasible cost with no concern about the operations of the office space. The owners make sure that the coworking space meets all their needs and the office space is functioning smoothly. One major concern of the corporations is the network security. Coworking spaces make sure to use a VPN and have dedicated IP addresses to ensure the network security.

The cabins and meeting rooms ensure the privacy of the businesses too. Coworking space provides a great networking opportunity to the businesses along with other advantages. Work from home employees also have the option of booking a space for an hour or two and get fast Internet speed to get their work done in a different space for a change. Coworking space will provide a break from the monotony of working form home.  It will also provide a cost-efficient solution to the expansion plans of any business. Coworking space can provide the infrastructure for them and a lot of upcoming coworking spaces provide a customized space to businesses. Quite a few of the coworking spaces have great entertainment facilities to maintain employee productivity and morale. Coworking space will also ensure that any major catastrophe in future does not have a big impact on the business operations.

Consequences of COVID-19 for coworking

One of the most obvious consequences of coronavirus has been the massive rise in the number of people working from home, which we hoped would boost coworking operations in an article we wrote last week.

However, the survey unfortunately found the opposite to be true — 71.67% of spaces said they have witnessed a significant drop in the number of people working from their space since the outbreak. 

Along with a dwindling in-person workforce, 40.8% of coworking spaces reported a negative impact on membership and contract renewals since the outbreak. And, 67% of spaces have experienced a drop in the number of new membership enquiries.

For coworking spaces all across the globe, the consequences of coronavirus are far-reaching and have fully altered the way that the spaces carry out daily business. In the survey, we asked spaces what the top consequences they’ve experienced as a result of coronavirus are, and they responded with the following:

  • Event cancellations (71.04%)
  • Meeting/conference room cancellations (65.99%)
  • Membership cancellations (34.68%)
  • Changing behaviors of members (24.24%)
  • Space closure (20.2%)
  • Sick members (8.75%)

Coworking Spaces adopt alternative business models 

While these consequences are both threatening and highly disruptive to coworking operators across the board, spaces are finding unique ways to deal with the effects of the outbreak in a positive way. By reassessing their services and creating new solutions, many spaces have adopted alternative business models in an effort to not only stop the spread of the virus, but also to support their community’s current needs.

In our survey, we asked our 14,000 spaces if they had adjusted their business model or introduced any new practices in response to COVID-19. Here are some of the new models spaces are integrating to help them navigate the crisis:

  • Adjusted cancellation policies to allow for more relaxed cancellation periods
  • Lower pricing for new members and discounts to current members
  • New student memberships for university students transitioning to online classes
  • New “virtual plans” and offering virtual mail services, in which no physical presence is required
  • Ability to roll over any unused days to future months for part-time shared desk members or pause membership entirely
  • Single-person rentals of meeting rooms for virtual meetings
  • Virtual member events and online workshops, including collaborations with video conferencing companies
  • Partnerships with local businesses to assist members and their families, including additional services by food delivery companies
  • Changing marketing strategies to reflect a new focus on selling private office memberships

Coworking space provides great solutions to small, medium, and big businesses alike to start or expand their operations. It gives a great opportunity to SMBs to take the next step in their entrepreneurial journey. The time and opportunity are right for the coworking spaces to provide a great solution to all the businesses post the Covid-19 pandemic.

Call Oplus Cowork now, to get yourself a great coworking space in Patna.

 

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