Coworking sector: How it's turning COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity, and why it will remain agile
The coronavirus pandemic has hardly left any sector, region, domain, or industry untouched. When COVID-19 hit India, very few had predicted that the crisis was going to stay for so long, and would have such a severe impact on the economy, businesses, and the GDP.
The corporates hadn’t at all anticipated that the economy would witness a jolt of this quantum. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, businesspersons have realised some very important aspects of trades such as – what is needed and what is not required, what can be done away with, and much more.
Many businesses are still struggling with the after-effects of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. However, the coworking spaces industry is taking the crisis as an opportunity and is resurgent in the post-pandemic scenario.
What is coworking?
Under this concept, professionals of different companies share a common office space. Coworking spaces offer a range of benefits, such as cost savings, convenience, world-class infrastructure and furniture, and networking opportunities, among others.
Of late, the concept of coworking has gained pace as it is a very attractive proposition from several aspects such as flexibility, freedom of choice and minimal capital investment etc.
Realisation of untapped potential
The coworking sector is expected to remain agile, despite the short-term challenges posed by COVID-19. Amid the first and the second waves of the pandemic, the coworking space operators have customised the seating arrangements, ambience and infrastructure in such a manner that it caters to a world vary of hygiene and social distancing norms.
The pandemic has made companies realise that traditional office spaces can turn out to be a real liability. As happened amid the two waves of the pandemic, most office spaces were lying vacant due to work from home arrangements and nationwide lockdowns.
Companies have learnt that satellite offices are far better and feasible than opening offices in a health emergency.
In addition to this, coworking spaces come with an option to increase seating and desks as and when the demand arises. Under these arrangements, a company can easily afford to have offices in multiple cities as it offers an economical way to expand offices and operations.
Coworking spaces offer a perfect balance between remote working and office environments.
Adapting to the new normal
In line with the guidelines issued by government authorities, coworking spaces have quickly adopted social distancing and hygiene norms.
They are gearing up to incorporate extra measures to ensure they are abiding by the COVID-19 guidelines. The use of cutting-edge technology such as automatic doors, hands-free check-ins, and smart lighting are revamping the coworking spaces drastically.
The coworking sector is proactively adapting to the change, and this way, it will efficiently recover to contribute to the growth of the economy.
Turning crisis into opportunity
Companies operating from coworking spaces have hugely benefited during the pandemic as compared to the ones with traditional offices, as they have been able to scale down office expenses. As the trends suggest and data reveals, the demand for coworking space is picking up amid declining cases.
The coworking sector is well on its path to turning the coronavirus crisis into an opportunity to evolve as the leading players are adapting to newer technologies and methods at a faster pace than ever before.
Taking lessons from the coronavirus crisis, shared spaces with hitherto high-density arrangements are being converted to low-density spaces to ensure mandated social distancing.
Low-density coworking spaces have also helped companies to cut their expenses by shunning the big old traditional office spaces, providing their employees with a well-structured environment to work.
A structured and clutter-free environment is extremely vital for an employee, especially when they have struggled for work-life balance amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Moreover, as a preventive measure, open coworking spaces are on their way to get transformed into more closed offices with provisions for private cabins.
Because of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, hygiene standards have also gone up. The coronavirus crisis has spelt out a clear message that the businesses that do not keep up with the social distancing and hygiene norms will eventually lose revenue.
Maintaining the social distancing and following COVID-19 appropriate hygiene norms at the traditional office space can add a lot more expenses, whereas coworking spaces have state-of-the-art cleaning mechanisms and all-inclusive billing. That's where they take an edge over other traditional arrangements.
Gaining pace, getting its dues
The trend of coworking spaces is evidently gaining pace. However, to sustain in the market and attract quality clientele, the operators need to be more agile and adaptive to the corporate demands.
According to industry experts, this is the ideal time for property owners to think ahead of the curve and collaborate with coworking operators to make the best of their vacant real-estate spaces. This way, they can unlock the untapped potential of their vacant properties.
Shortly, when most of the citizens will be fully vaccinated, coworking space will draw even more companies to call their employees to the workspaces. In such a situation, coworking spaces will be a more feasible option. That too without being heavy on the company's budget.
Now, as the pandemic begins to subside, companies are planning to create a robust and productive operating model that supports their business goals while being in sync with the pandemic-related measures.
A Gartner survey suggested that 59 percent of respondents are expecting shared office seating for at least a quarter of their employees who return after the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with the same, companies have started acknowledging the benefits of the hybrid working model and considering coworking spaces to support innovation-led growth.
Conclusively, as the pandemic has badly affected economies across the globe, companies are restructuring and reworking their budgets. Amid all this, the coworking business is being considered as the best preference as it runs on community and collaboration, and promotes sanitation and floor layout strategies, ensuring safer environments and cost-efficiency.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)