Coworking has proven that it is not just a passing trend. Twelve years after it first created a buzz in the business world, coworking is still around and going strong.
In fact, although many doubted that it will stick, the number of people who lease and use available office space has only increased. Because of the pandemic, more workers have chosen and will choose flexible workspaces so that they can have more control over their lives.
How the Pandemic Change Work
There has been a shift toward flexible workspaces even before the pandemic happened. In 2019, there were nearly 19,000 coworking spaces worldwide and around 3 million people use the facilities, most of whom are freelancers.
Because of the pandemic, more people will likely need access to flexible workspaces.
When COVID-19, which was first detected in Wuhan, started spreading around the world, nations locked down. Offices were among those that had to close down to protect employees from catching the highly contagious and deadly virus. Millions of Britons lost their jobs. Others had to do their work from home.
Experts believe that, even when offices reopen later this year as the United Kingdom reaches herd immunity, not everyone will want to go back. A survey found that the number of people who want to transition to working from home permanently has doubled since the pandemic. From 18 percent before the pandemic, by July 2020, the portion of the population that wants to retain the remote setup has risen to 36 percent.
There are also over 2 million freelancers in the UK in 2020. The majority are working freelance full-time. The rest are doing it as a secondary source of income.
Another survey revealed that, although more coworking spaces have emerged in the past decade, there is still demand more. Only one in five believe that there are now too many coworking spaces in the UK. There is still room for more operators to enter the industry.
But, how can a newcomer open and run their own coworking space? What do renters want from a coworking space?
One reason why people go to coworking spaces is the lack of needed equipment available from home. Some workers already own printers, phones, and a laptop to complete their tasks. Others, however, rely on their offices to provide these things.
Coworking spaces usually offer additional silent PC units, copy machines, printers and scanners, fax machines, video conferencing devices, and others in addition to empty desks and chairs. The availability of these amenities will ensure members can have immediate access to tools as soon as needed. They would not have to miss an important video call to a client, or they can fax a document needed by a colleague.
In addition, there should be strong and reliable WiFi. No modern office can function without the internet, and it is more important in coworking spaces where members can and do bring their own devices to the facility. They should be able to connect to the internet without interruptions for the coworking space to succeed.
A Good Location
The coworking space should, first and foremost, be accessible to members. An office that has all the right amenities would not appeal to the public if it is difficult to go to and has no other available retail services around.
The ideal coworking space is located at the heart of the city with restaurants and cafes, gyms, film theaters, and other workplaces. It should also be close to residential areas. These added benefits allow members to have business meetings at restaurants and cafes, work out and have fun in nearby gyms and film theaters, and go back home when they have finished work.
People who work in coworking spaces want to network. A coworking space usually has professionals across industries.
A coworking space should throw events for members to mingle and connect.
Events will be beneficial to everyone because it creates a sense of community. Although there is no obligation for members to get to know the person sitting beside them, events can create friendship and camaraderie among those who use the same facility. It can also be a way for prospective members to become acquainted with the people they will interact with on a regular basis.
Moreover, events can help members help one another. A startup looking for someone to develop an eye-catching logo can meet a member who is freelancing as a graphic designer. A copywriter can encounter a marketing manager from a firm.
Opening a coworking space is not a bad business venture, especially after the pandemic. However, in order to stand out against competitors, entrepreneurs must know what workers want from their flexible workspace.