The Future of Coworking Spaces in a Post COVID-19 World

The Knight Frank’s The Indian Real Estate report claims that the share of co-working spaces in the overall office space pie has jumped from 5 to 13 percent between 2017 and 2019. In January 2020, Anarock Property had earlier this year affirmed that the co-working spaces in the country would double or even triple.  However, the current COVID-19 situation seems to throw up challenges for office spaces. That said, the post lockdown scenario could bring in a wave of new opportunities for the coworking players.

According to the Global Coworking Growth Study 2020, although growth in 2020 will be slow, the coworking sector will rebound and develop even more rapidly from 2021 onwards, with a yearly growth rate of 21.3 per cent.

Though work from home (WFH) might look appealing, in due course, most employees face various challenges, including technology, large family setups, limited space at home, and so on that affect operational efficiencies and productivity. Also, the mental health of employees might emerge as a concern as they struggle to balance deadlines with home duties. 

As lockdowns lift and businesses return to normalcy, addressing this gap might become an essential. It is here that coworking spaces can fit the bill and address the concerns.

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We believe  that the workspace experience will be extremely different in the new normal. Workplaces will be driven by contactless technology like hands-free entry points and in-house apps for greater networking and collaboration, and follow a holistic approach towards employee wellbeing. 

Here are three ways coworking spaces will look like in a post COVID-19 world:

1. Distributed Workstations

When coworking offices resume, various flexible solutions will be introduced to cater to the new employee needs and safety best practices. Social distancing will be the new pre-requisite to resuming workspaces, so workstations will be introduced with the “6 feet office” concept to help create safe spaces for the workforce. Now on, plexiglass shields between desks will be the norm. Additionally, new and improved rules of conduct, unique routing for each office, and optimized shared facility services will be established.

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2. Increased Hygiene Measures

Owing to the current scenario, it would be critical for employees to feel comfortable in these spaces again. Cleaning was something that always happened in the background, mostly when people weren’t occupying the office space. But today, visible cleaning is a necessity. Detailed cleaning protocols with daily antiviral spraying will be the norm. Also, automatic doors, hands-free check-ins, restrictions on gatherings in common areas will become an essential. 

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3. The Coworking Community

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the interaction and sense of community provided by coworking spaces was one of the most significant benefits. Coworking spaces are attuned to this need, and will be investing in virtual community offerings. Companies like Workbar have already introduced virtual programming on their live platform, and Dayhouse Coworking hosts weekly events online. So, networking in coworking places will continue to thrive in this new world, courtesy technology.

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