The Good, the Bad, and the Uncertain in a Post-Pandemic World
Any considerations to be made regarding the future of co-working offices must be examined through the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic. This obvious fact and harsh reality confront us every single day as health care officials and lawmakers provide their daily takes on what the new reality for life in 2020 will look like. This is our new normal. Every industry from health care, sports, government, automotive, finance and yes, hospitality, will have to make great adjustments, allowances, and set new expectations for how success and human safety must now co-exist in a more tangible manner.
Social distancing is the new way of life, and with it, businesses across all industries must incorporate this necessity if they are to thrive in 2020 and for the foreseeable future. The businesses, industries, and companies best equipped and suited to operate under that new normalcy must be more hopeful about their prospects for surviving and thriving once the lockdown subsides in earnest.
Will COVID-19 kill co-working spaces?
Any place, activity, or event that brings strangers together in sizable numbers should be included at the top of the list of candidates for long-term disruption and financial hardship in the new world of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coworking spaces certainly fall into this category. Shared desks, office spaces, and common areas that count on people to leave their homes for the purpose of work may ultimately lose their allure for years at the least, and forever at the worst. With society adjusting to and discovering new ways of working from home every day in the time of social distancing, a business model based on bringing people together in a large office for the single purpose of having a place to work together seems to be the antithesis of work-life in 2020.
This new reality is extremely troubling for entire businesses that feed off coworking spaces. Many of these niche areas of business were growing exponentially due to the boom in coworking offices and now find themselves more invested than ever before with less opportunity for a return to profitability than most businesses.
One such company that has experienced tremendous growth in recent years in the coworking game is “WeWork,” which is as popular a name in coworking as McDonald’s is in fast food. It has been widely reported in and around New York City, the founding city for WeWork, that their coworking offices have been almost entirely empty for the last two months with little evidence that that is going to change anytime soon. New York City has more WeWork locations, sixty, than any other in the world. The fact is, so many of the professionals that call WeWork their professional workspace have discovered that working from home is not just feasible, but in fact, more practical from both financial and personal health safety perspectives. But what if coworking spaces did have a benefit to their venues that were uniquely their own?
In addition to providing individuals the opportunity to work independently in a shared workspace where they don’t incur regular business operation costs, a property management system like Booking Ninjas provides management specifically for the coworking space and advanced coworking software compatible with most larger business models across a variety of industries. At a time when millions are strapped for cash and short on work, a space that lowers overhead, keeps you connected to your industry from a remote location, and assists you in your overall productivity may not be dead in the water just yet.
REASONS COVID-19 MAKES COWORKING SPACES EVEN MORE IMPORTANT
If you work in or manage a coworking office, the COVID-19 pandemic may be causing you to reconsider your career path and look into other options. But before you hit the panic button, there are some reasons to be hopeful that ‘doom-and-gloom’ may not be the forecast for coworking spaces and professionals who work in related and intertwined occupations to it.
Let’s take a look at the bright side. And make no mistake; this is more than just a wishful way of thinking. There is plenty of evidence and common sense to support the narrative that coworking spaces and all of its related constituents could and should rebound gloriously. In fact, Australia is predicting a major boom in the coworking industry over the next few months.
Co-working spaces can use property software to connect all of their members. Whether that connection is to their fellow individual workers sharing the space, to the business affiliates within their network, customers within their communities, or to the property management team responsible for making sure these operations all run smoothly from an easy to use an internal hub. This enables an advanced property management team to implement a property management software to organize its tenants and provide them all of the previously mentioned advantages of coworking software in the coworking space.
If you’re interested in procuring these services, my best recommendation would be to fill out our expression of interest form as a first step towards gaining access to our state of the art coworking software available to ensure your advanced property management team has all it needs to succeed.
However, that wasn’t the point of laying out the structure behind a coworking space’s functionality. The purpose is to illustrate that all of the connections provided by coworking software are virtual which means, very conducive to life in the new COVID-19 pandemic world where social distance is essential and working remotely is a way of life for many.
In the remainder of this blog, I would like to layout at least three broad reasons why the coworking industry should emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, while also proving itself even more vital, important and, necessary within the constructs of our new society in a post-pandemic world. Let’s have a look.
REASON #1: Remote Workers Have to Work from Somewhere.
Coworking office buildings play a key role in hosting relocated remote workers and helping them plug into their new local scenes. Part of managing the pandemic for large corporations means limiting the number of employees that are allowed to work on the premises of the main headquarters or offices. This means more employees becoming remote workers. Big businesses and large corporations specifically are swiftly rising to the top of businesses that stand to benefit most in the post-crisis economy. Extensive government aid warranted or not (not the topic at hand), has assured that they will stay in business. But that doesn’t excuse them from the new normal that is social distancing.
The development of big businesses flooding coworking spaces with their staff overflow created by the pandemic’s social distancing requirements creates an urgent need for large corporations to have these remote workers connected with their on-site counterparts.
Management for these coworking spaces should also see an uptick in overall job opportunities. The same should be said for property management software needs, which play an essential role in keeping entire workforces connected and communicating in a seamless and efficient manner. The providers of this software will certainly benefit from the new influx of business that is sure to come via large corporations moving into coworking spaces by the masses. Coworking software must comply with all kinds of specific company regulations, which leads to more elaborate systems being put in place and in larger quantities. This is another added benefit for all of the businesses related to the coworking industry. Having a PMS system in place will allow coworking spaces added adaptability and functionality in meeting specific protocols and requirements detailed by the large corporations that enlist their services.
The advantages PMS systems create for large corporations to transition seamlessly into the new normal created by the pandemic are numerous and make their implementation essential for these large businesses to thrive in the changing society. They must stay connected as if all staff is still operating under one headquartered umbrella. Coworking spaces and their software allow the remote workers of a company to function as if they are under the corporation’s umbrella while working from remote space. In-house operation systems are not as well equipped to take on the task, another advantage that should ensure continued occupancy by remote employees.
Aside from large corporations or other big businesses having the need to turn some of their workforce into remote workers, there is also a very real, human element in play as well. Despite society as a whole adapting to work from home, people thrive in work environments, which are more readily free of distractions.
Having your workspace double as your home space, especially when you are not the only one living in that home, creates challenges not found in a proper work environment. Children, spouses, family, and other roommates don’t share your job responsibility in the home you live in, which could mean a severe decline in productivity for you as a remote worker. People cannot be expected to work at home forever. This stands to be a massive benefit to these companies to ensure maximum functionality for coworking spaces. After a couple of months more of lockdown and of working from home, it is more than reasonable to assume that millions of people will be eager to work from somewhere else. Heck, anywhere else, but from home. Enter their local coworking office.
REASON #2: Small Business Resource Coordination
Big business is not the only business structure that could use the benefits of coworking offices and software in place. PMS systems streamline government aid applications by handling, receiving, and distributing to take the hassle and uncertainty out of an issue that is driving millions of small business workers and owners to their wits-ends. Coworking spaces are better equipped to connect with peripheral and hard-to-reach businesses because they know them, in a lot of cases, personally, and they have trusting relationships in place with them.
In fact, it would behoove many a philanthropic foundation, chamber-of-commerce, or even a Mayor to enlist a co-working space to increase their ability via options in helping their local economies. The collaboration would certainly be mutually beneficial as the notoriety of supporting local government could be monumental to the goodwill generated.
And co-working workplaces don’t just serve the needs of the previously mentioned remote workers either. They are also crucial support structures for small businesses, sole proprietors, the self-employed, and other entrepreneurs. More specifically, co-working spaces are an essential outlet for small businesses that operate in and around the outer edges of local economies.
While many small business professionals can make due to working from home in the short term, they ultimately won’t find that situation to be to their greatest benefit. Creativity has been seen as a benefit from work at home, but for many, those opportunities are limited, fleeting, or non-existent. Viable income becomes a top priority for most, sooner or later.
Lower-income members of the small business workforce are especially vulnerable to life outside of the workplace and must adapt more urgently to the financial hardships of being out of work. Co-working spaces house a variety of temp-jobs and companies with that type of work available. A massive increase in the number of out of work, low-income small business employers and employees alike may find themselves flooding co-working spaces across the country within the next few months.
The well-documented lack of government subsidy available to small businesses and its employees creates an added challenge in the fight to stay in business. Paying rent may no longer be an option for small businesses. In such cases, a co-working facility may provide the necessary alternative these businesses need to keep from going under while taking a few months off from crippling rent and utility costs.
By comparison, a desk at a WeWork space in New York City with unlimited access to the benefits provided by their PMS software and exclusive co-working management teams is a mere $350 per month. Compare that with thousands of dollars in rent you’d be paying for a commercial space in New York City, which doesn’t even include any utility or labor costs.
Co-working businesses are well-positioned to help coordinate and direct the assistance being sent out via local emergency relief funds. Federal government funding such as the Cares Act has struggled to efficiently target many small businesses being lost in the shuffle of this global crisis. The efficient distribution of funds operating under the letter of the law is made significantly simpler with these systems in place.
Plugging into a community of fellow small business owners, sole proprietors, entrepreneurs and independent contractors within a single co-working space could prove extremely beneficial from a networking standpoint as well. Another local government subsidy related perk is practical, that being the opportunity to take the shelter of a co-working space that is receiving assistance and could filter some of that to small business industry people.
REASON #3: Community is Essential to Recovery
With millions out of work, a facility that can provide a large number of jobs at once, especially in a variety of fields, should be noted as essential for that very service alone. As social distancing measures change, evolve, and eventually become more relaxed, people will be coming back to work in larger quantities. A co-working space has so many outlets and extensions connected to it that its place and prominence within communities might very well experience a huge uptick as our economy bounces back. Job providers at the edge of communications and organizational
technologies are bound to prove more and more vital as society adapts and changes.
Co-working spaces stimulate the economy from within through their variety of connections to many other industries and American workforce members. LaunchPad revealed in its 2020 Impact Report, released in January 2020, that across five locations, member businesses had created over 9,000 jobs, raised over $230 million in equity capital, and leased over one million square feet of commercial real estate.
These numbers alone are enough to provide incredible goodwill within a community and inspire an increase in business for co-working spaces, as well as the PMS systems that enable their advanced functionality. For those of you who don’t know, “Launch Pad” is a co-working space focused on building strong communities and collaboration as well as supporting entrepreneurship and start-up success through inspired workspaces, educational
programming and events, a global startup ecosystem network and a venture fund focused on momentum markets for startups and big businesses alike. It was founded in New Orleans in 2009. Their full fifty-six page 2020 Impact Report is available at https://lp.co/impact/
Management exclusively dedicated to co-working offices should be credited greatly for their roles in the success of these spaces and their effects on the local communities and their workforces. Without dedicated management teams to train their staff in advanced property management and the implementation of PMS systems, these co-working spaces would never be able to operate to their full potential.
Co-working spaces can certainly create jobs and fill office space, but their impact on communities is just as relevant and important as their economic significance. In fact, when it comes to recovery and rebound for the citizens throughout the country, the community impact will be more essential than the economy in many cases.
With the presence of social distancing here to stay for the foreseeable future, it is no secret that community ties could and probably will suffer and break. Community and economic impact will always be connected. As small businesses suffer great financial hardship, it will also lead to major fractures within community business relationships, the strength of commerce cohesiveness, and philanthropic goodwill.
These fractures will be extremely hard to piece back together once cracked. Entrepreneurs, business owners, and workers will need social networks and local connections more than ever to regain their standing in the community. It’s already been seen to large degrees on the news and through other outlets the evidence of communities rallying to support local businesses. These efforts include gift card malls, fundraisers, and other financial charitable contributions in the way of support.
It can also be prevalent and sometimes just as meaningful from a community standpoint, to see demonstrations in a show of support of essential workers doing their parts in a community. Many small businesses are staples of communities that have housed years and years worth of memories to their community members.
When lockdown comes to a close, life, as we know it won’t be the same again. It won’t just be as simple as flipping a switch and everything is back to normal. Some businesses, both large and small, won’t ever reopen. But coworking managers are resilient and the market has seen a growing demand for remote workplaces, which could result in a boom period for mobile businesses in the near future. Community strength will be essential in helping people reconnect, build new networks, and support one another.
If you have a vested interest in co-working spaces being a part of that community strength and rebuilding in the present or future, you may rest assured that there would be a place for you and a workspace to return to, whenever you are prepared to do so.
Booking Ninjas offers comprehensive coworking property software. If you’re interested in learning more about our PMS, schedule a call with us.