2020 has proven to be not just unpredictable, but it’s been a real game-changer for businesses in redefining and reshaping the way people work. At first, businesses pivoted any way they could to keep revenue coming in. Many companies found that their employees could actually work from home, although after a few months of cute pet and goofy family distractions, most people were ready to go back to the office. People want to get out of the house for a while, and hone in on their jobs for a set amount of time each day without numerous distractions. Another sector of the economy realized that if they didn’t cut costs during this time of reduced revenues, their businesses might not survive the uncertainty of the COVID-19 reality. Looking ahead to 2021, businesses are trying to figure out what they will do in the new year.
An oasis of sorts
With COVID cases on the rise after the Thanksgiving holiday, no one is sure when many businesses will open for in-person work again. At the same time, in the wake of many remote workers wanting to work anywhere except home and many businesses needing the energy and inspiration created by in-person, one-on-one collaboration, a different solution is needed for many individuals and businesses that are looking for a way to bridge the gap between working from home and going back into the office full-time. The solution appears to be “flexible office spaces.”
Stats show global growth
According to a CoworkingResources and the Coworker.com study, 2020 Global Coworking Growth Study, researchers revealed the following insights:
· “The study expects growth to rebound from 2021 onwards, with a yearly growth rate of 21.3% until 2024.”
· “The number of coworking spaces worldwide is expected to more than double by 2024, and surpass 40,000.”
· “Around 5 million people will work from coworking spaces by 2024.”
Changes in flexible workspace preferences
What many people don’t realize is that flexible workspaces offer private offices and semi-private desk spaces, in addition to the common areas. These options are ideal for workers who want to feel the business community around them, even though they might not want to interact directly with many other members at this time. Venture X coworking spaces, for instance, are also large enough to allow for comfortable collaboration and distancing at the same time.
Hybrid work for remote workers and large companies
Flexible office spaces, such as Venture X, are creating solutions for those workers stuck at home and for large companies who need in-person meetings for their teams. For remote workers, a day or two working in a coworking space can boost their work/life balance, allowing them to connect with the business community weekly. Large companies that need teams to meet in person can rent a meeting room or private office for their teams to convene in for training or brainstorming and/or to work on projects that are more productive when team members can bounce ideas off of one another in person.
Restructuring the status quo
While Zoom and Google Hangouts have become the go-to virtual meeting tools, they still lack that spark and synchronistic intangible element that in-person meetings embody. Large companies may want to choose flexible office spaces for some workers to work on a full-time basis or for a few days a week, this offers some balance to totally remote work from home.
Moving towards the enterprise level
Before the pandemic, large companies were taking advantage of coworking spaces to accommodate regional teams, in place of opening satellite offices. This trend will likely continue, as large companies who are restructuring during this time may be converting their office spaces into production and warehousing spaces, as automation plays a bigger role in manufacturing and fulfillment activities, and space can be used to social distance workers required to be on the premises. Larger companies can utilize their local flexible, shared workspaces as hubs to send smaller teams to work together, or for team meeting spaces. After 2021, it is predicted that more large businesses will be moving into coworking spaces at the enterprise level and may be using this time to restructure and prepare for the change.
Flexibility in uncertain times
Some companies are moving into flexible office spaces to weather the uncertainty of the economy. For some, this means a change in operations, restructuring so that your business may survive intact, without sacrificing its human resources. While it’s true that the commercial real estate sector may lose more ground as a result of business owners forgoing lengthy commercial leases for the affordability and convenience of coworking spaces, it only makes sense for businesses to cut overheads, as much as possible in these times.
It’s not just about saving on commercial leases
Not only does a business benefit from reduced rental rates when moving to flexible office space, but businesses also save money on general office supplies, maintaining office equipment and updating technology, in addition to managing and cleaning the office. Community Managers at Venture X ensure the day goes as seamlessly as possible, as they work behind the scenes to ensure members have everything they need for the business day. Because many small- to medium-size businesses will undergo some sort of restructuring, due to the pandemic, flexible office spaces are designed for businesses to scale up during growth phases and hold steady or scale down when needed.
All in all, the flexible shared space model works well in times of economic uncertainty! At Venture X, we offer everyone from remote workers to large businesses a means to pivot and thrive in times of uncertainty. While 2021 will focus on rebounding, research has shown that flexible, shared office spaces will not only survive the COVID-19 pandemic but will exceed expectations as flexible shared desk spaces grow in popularity as the way people like to work.