The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Post-COVID Working – What’s the Future of Co-Working Spaces? 

Post-COVID Working – What’s the Future of Co-Working Spaces? 
09 June 2021
 

During initial national lockdowns, co-working companies incurred losses along with several other businesses, but what’s the future of these flexible offices?

 

Image

 

WeWork

 

In the first quarter of 2021, co-working giant WeWork lost $2.1bn, as it lost over a quarter of its members. According to reports from the the Financial Times, WeWork’s quarterly revenues fell almost 50 per cent year-on-year from $1.1bn to $598m and the company lost about 200,000 customers.

However, the flexibility of these types of spaces, whilst empty during strict lockdowns, lend themselves well to a new business culture focussed more on hybrid work and less on bricks-and-mortar real estate. 

Last year alone, the number of coworking spaces grew by 21 per cent, a 42 per cent increase from 2018. Demand has simultaneously grown, with the number of coworking space users growing by 27 per cent since 2020.

Although the pandemic has forced many of these offices to temporarily or indefinitely shut down, research from Ezra, a digital coaching provider, indicates the anticipated annual growth of 21.3 per cent is keeping coworking prominent.

 

USA Comes Top for Co-Working

 

At the moment, America is the top country for coworking spaces with an estimated 3,762 spaces.

“Coworking spaces have become incredibly popular in recent years as they not only provide flexibility and affordability, but also a fresh business culture focussed on accessibility and collaboration,” said Nick Goldberg, founder of Ezra. “Of course, the pandemic will have caused many to swap their shared workspace for a home office for the short term, but this popularity is expected to keep growing as the world reopens and the way we work continues to evolve.”

Coworking is now a big business and one that is only predicted to get bigger, with previous research by Ezra estimating that by 2025, 6.5 million people around the world will be using a coworking office space such as WeWork.

 

IWG Warns of Profit Loss

 

IWG, previously known as Regus, recently told the BBC that it expects to be “well below” the £133.8 billion it reported in the previous year.

The flexible office-space provider said that while it is experiencing a strong recovery in some markets, overall occupancy improved less than expected due to the prolonged effect of the COVID pandemic, including continued lockdown restrictions and the emergence of new variants of the virus.

However, the company did open offices in 13 new centres in January 2021, in locations as diverse as Prague, Auckland and Rio de Janeiro.

The company’s net debt was £293 million as of 31 March 2021.

 

How are Co-Working Spaces Adapting?

 

Everything from more visible cleaning to social distancing signage and layout changes are being implemented to make co-working spaces attractive and viable for safe working.

Cushman & Wakefield pioneered an office design scheme based around the “six feet rule” of social distancing, challenging many concepts of a traditional office layout. Floor signage encouraging social distancing, one-way systems and a ban on hot desking are now common and expected sights in the modern office.

Niki Fuchs, Managing Director at Office Space in Town, believes that companies must capitalise on the population’s desire to return to work and restore collaboration within their teams:

“We've already seen the economic impact of empty offices, creating 'ghost towns' in cities, and, importantly, the negative effect that working remotely has had on productivity and staff wellbeing.

"So, while the future office has been a source of much speculation, there is growing indications that people want to return. In fact, in our recent survey, we found that 95 per cent of people want a physical office to return to."

Picture: a photograph of a co-working space with comfortable armchairs, a coffee table and a colourful mural on the wall which says "Work the way you love"

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 09 June 2021

Share



Related Articles

Landmark Hosts Panel Debate on the Future of Work  

Adapting to remote working, becoming comfortable with disruptive technologies and creating a friction-free workplace were all on the agenda at flexible office space...

 Read Full Article
Former Police Station Becomes Co-Working Space

Dartford Courts and Police Station has become The Hill Hub, a state-of-the-art co-working space. Located right in the heart of Kent, The Hill Hub consists of...

 Read Full Article
The Best Co-Working Spaces in the UK

As the UK awaits the final stage of lockdown easing, research suggests workers are keen to swap home working for a more conventional office setup. Despite the obvious...

 Read Full Article
Looking for Co-Working Space? Try 9 Days in Tuscany

A week of free co-working space in the Tuscan village of Peccioli is available for six professionals. The Peccioli Working...

 Read Full Article
The New Office Dynamic – What's Expected?

More than a third of US and UK office workers describe the prospect of going back to the office as the equivalent of going out to meet with friends, according to a...

 Read Full Article
WeWork Shares to go Public Via Merger

WeWork, the co-working office space company, will see its shares start trading on the stock market, via its merger with BowX Acquisition Corp. This comes less than two...

 Read Full Article
Manchester Studio Completes Iconic Office Refurbishment Projects

Community, creativity and health are three key pillars of four iconic Manchester refurbishment projects, completed by Independent design practice, Sheila Bird...

 Read Full Article
Serviced Offices - Where Are They & Who's Looking?

The London boroughs with the highest number of serviced offices are Westminster (883 serviced offices), Camden (374), Islington (315), Hackney (210) and Southwark (115)....

 Read Full Article
Coffee And Casual Beats Wacky

As the corporate world spend millions competing with weird and wacky office designs, new research reveals that Brits actually want a flat white or cappuccino as...

 Read Full Article
The Most Instagrammed Office Trends

Re-styling your office is a great way to increase productivity and happiness. What are the most Instagrammable office design trends of the last year? Office...

 Read Full Article