Can Co-Working Spaces benefit from the Pandemic?
In this era of new normal every organization is carving their definition of their style of working. Flexible workspaces are a practical choice as companies rise up to face the new normal. With the impact of the pandemic taking effect during Q2 2020, the decline in absorption was seen across all the markets.
The past few years have witnessed an unparalleled success for co-working in India. Initially the concept took off very well in India as it was a revolutionary shift in the Indian traditional workspace to a more flexible, accessible and affordable co-working space. But due to the lockdown and disruption due to COVID-19 the co-working industry had taken a setback. However, medium- to long-term fundamentals remain sound as corporate occupiers seek out alternative options to reduce costs and capital expenditure. As a result, even the most conventional occupiers are now seeing the merit in co-working. The post lockdown scenario is set to bring in a wave of new opportunities for the co-working players. There will be a lot of focus on distancing measures and communication protocols to ensure a safe working environment.
The key aspect that will favour this segment post-COVID-19 apart from the premium facility management is de-densification. The segment will also see the adoption of high levels of hygiene and other measures that will attract businesses. It will also attract companies previously not exposed to co-working and its benefits. Co-working segment is best placed to cater to these flexible demands.
Few other aspects will also help co working to bounce back:
Work from Home is not for everyone:
Though Work from Home has worked out very well still many profiles and verticals would prefer the office set up. For many others it may adversely affect their work life balance. Work from home may co-exist, but office space will not lose its importance as a strategic tool for corporate culture development and a source of competitive advantage.
Large organizations may look for smaller spaces:
Another win for flexible workspaces will also come from the fact that companies will have to practice social distancing within their campuses, which means they might have to station some remote employees. The current situation will also see larger enterprises seeking smaller spaces to ensure synergised business continuity in the near future. There’s now a lot more interest in taking dedicated and secure private offices, which is the big shift in the flexible office space industry. As large enterprises may not invest or might curb capital expenditure or long-term commitments on office property, co-working spaces will see a surge as they offer flexible infrastructure solutions and also set precedents for safe and healthy practices too.
Flexibility of Co Working:
As companies look to resume business, redesigning and restructuring of existing real estate will pose yet another challenge, however, co-working spaces will be able to respond to design changes required post-COVID-19 quicker and more efficiently than traditional office spaces.
Closures and Mergers:
Future post pandemic is highly unpredictable and there may be many consolidations in many companies, there might be many mergers and acquisitions due to the slowdown of the economy. Hence there will be challenges for the organizations to maintain the same equilibrium for each one.
Adaption of innovation by the co working spaces:
COVID-19 has also accelerated the digitalization of workspaces. An innovative technology ecosystem provides flexible and on-demand places to support convenience, functionality, and well-being. To avoid the transmission of germs at workspaces, co-working companies have enabled comprehensive contactless technology and robotic technology that has attracted clients. Smart access, meeting rooms and receptions have already forayed enabling cloud-based access system, facial recognition and real-time security monitoring.
As the Indian economy is slowly getting back to a ‘new normal’ following the Covid-19 outbreak, each industry is re-inventing its business model to adapt to a post Covid -19 era. Sometimes, a crisis also presents an opportunity to make decisions that would be hard to make in more business-as-usual times. Despite the disruption, the focus would remain on managing revenues and increasing productivity and flexible workspaces will play an even more important role in rationalising costs and maintaining financial agility. Hence flexible workspaces can fit the bill and address the gap with the right blend of safety, sustainability, and cost optimisation for any business to grow and change with the current scenario.
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