COVID-19 has had a complicated effect on coworking spaces. In the short-term, the coronavirus pandemic led to reduced office occupancy, including in coworking communities. People in every industry were avoiding offices in 2020 for obvious reasons.
In the mid- to long-term the story of COVID-19’s impact on coworking communities may be one of renewal and increased economic importance.
- Businesses that pulled back during the pandemic are now in the process of rapidly ramping back up.
- Many businesses that got out of commercial leases are now looking for new homes.
- Businesses that began relying more heavily on remote workers want to provide a place for those remote employees to work and be productive.
- People who miss having a workplace community are now looking for opportunities to return to an office family.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused severe damage to businesses in all types of industries. Some of those businesses were able to survive by reducing their expenses, such as getting out of commercial leases. Many of those businesses are now looking for short-term, medium-term and long-term accommodations for their employees.
Coworking Communities Provide Flexibility in Uncertain Times
The flexible contracts and accommodations of shared workspaces make them an easy choice for businesses looking for temporary space. Businesses that need workspace for a matter of months or a year for a growing team will find a flexible, welcoming environment at coworking communities like MAC6.
Businesses may even find a permanent home in their Desk+ or Enterprise accommodations, especially when they discover the amenities and culture beat out more expensive office park alternatives.
Many big Bay Area and West Coast technology companies have given telecommuting employees permission to move out of state. For those workers, the temporary COVID-19 measures have now become a permanent way of life. Elon Musk, for example, just moved from California to Austin, Texas.
Many workers are choosing to move themselves and their families to states and cities that offer lower costs of living but comparable amenities and culturally vibrant environments. Phoenix is the second (behind Austin, Texas) most popular destination for migrating professionals according to analysis of LinkedIn profiles (1.48 professionals moved to the Valley for every one that moved out).
People who are working remotely fulltime may not want to work exclusively from home. Some employers may even encourage, or mandate remote workers report to a coworking space where they can focus on work and maintain a clear delineation between their personal life and work life.
Many businesses were moving towards remote workforces before COVID-19, but the pandemic has undeniably accelerated its adoption. Coworking communities may become an invaluable tool for this telecommuting trend.
De-Densifying Workspaces with the Help of Coworking Spaces
Coronavirus may have put an end to crowded open floorplans and cubicle layouts in corporate America. Even if the practice survives at some companies, it certainly won’t resume with pre-pandemic density.
Workers will likely be wary of working shoulder to shoulder on an open floor with hundreds of other coworkers for the foreseeable future.
Corporations that want to assuage the concerns of their employees and prevent the spread of communicable diseases may decide to reduce their office density. Spreading employees out at various coworking spaces would be one way to de-densify head count.
Businesses that Use Coworking Spaces Get Connected with Local Resources
Chambers of commerce, networking groups and other organizations that assist small businesses often partner with coworking communities to provide resources to members. Coworking communities, by their very nature, are home to dozens and in some cases more than a hundred small businesses.
For example, the Tempe Chamber of Commerce is a member of the MAC6 community and has an office on our campus.
Coworking communities are acting as beacons in places that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. They help small businesses gain access to resources intended to help local economies recover and thrive.
Networking and Growth Opportunities
Members of a New Orleans-based coworking community, Launch Pad, created more than 9,000 jobs in 2020. Entrepreneurs and small businesses in the community raised a combined $230 million of capital from angel investors and venture capitalists.
COVID-19 has been a tragedy for many businesses, but it can also act as an opportunity. Many savvy entrepreneurs and startups will take advantage of this global creative destruction event, stepping in to quickly fill service and product vacuums.
Businesses capable of quickly identifying new coronavirus-inspired needs and scaling up to meet those challenges will likely experience the highest degrees of success.
Coworking communities are uniquely situated to help SMBs maximize their agility, not just by providing affordable and flexible lease options, but also by offering networking and community resources to members.
Learn How MAC6 Can Help Your Business Become Part of the COVID-19 Recovery
Entrepreneurs, freelancers and SMBs seeking workplaces that are affordable, scalable and provide access to local resources should consider booking a tour of the MAC6 campus. Download our brochure, learn about our community, then contact us by calling (602) 837-2664.