Coworking And The New Normal

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What is the NEW NORMAL?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way we live and lead our lives. From trapping us indoors to maintaining distance from our near and dear ones to washing our hands every chance we get, our lifestyle has undergone a huge shift. Consequently, our work life has also undergone a huge shift with decreased frequency of people working out of offices due to social distancing and people preferring to work from home.

This is the new normal. Till the time, the doctors find a cure or a vaccine for COVID19, we have to adapt to this new way of living, working and interacting with people.

The Coworking Industry

In recent years, the coworking or shared office market has seen dramatic growth with more and more people and organizations preferring to work out of coworking spaces. With larger organizations and Multinational companies recognizing the allure of coworking spaces, the market was all set to see major growth, until the pandemic hit.

How Coworking Industry Is Adapting To The New Normal?

There is a considerable increase in the number of people working from home or remotely amid the COVID19 crisis. This put a bar to the growth of the coworking space market. In March 2020 alone, coworking spaces have witnessed an almost 50% decline in the footfalls as companies preferred to work from home. Subsequently, the revenues for the coworking space market in 2020 has declined.

To offset the effects of the pandemic, the coworking industry is all geared up to make big changes to their daily operations.

Following are some of the changes the coworking industry is going through-

Restructuring the space

Several coworking spaces have restructured their workspace designs to ensure their facilities meet the guidelines set by the government during this coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the basic measures that all coworking spaces are taking are –

  • Pre-defined, socially distant seating arrangement in the coworking areas
  • Changing the design to accommodate more private work areas
  • Changing the design of meeting/conference rooms to accommodate a limited number of people
  • Ear-marking routes throughout the coworking space

Coworking spaces like iKeva are offering private offices for teams that ensure the health and safety of the team members.

Restructuring Packages

Coworking spaces are known to prioritize convenience and flexibility as part of their business model at all times and the new normal is no exception. The challenges faced by various industries have made it imperative that coworking players boost their flexibility game. Besides flexibility in terms of team size, coworking players are now working on providing extra flexibility on the term of the contract and the package chosen.

Prioritizing Safety

One of the larger challenges the commercial real estate markets, especially the coworking space market, faced during this pandemic is the worry regarding the health and safety of all members within the coworking space. To mitigate the risks and keep everyone healthy, coworking spaces have implemented a number of precautionary measures.

Some of the measures iKeva, a workspace provider, has implemented are-

  • Social distancing in all common areas
  • Infrared body temperature measurement at the entrance
  • Mandatory usage of masks, PPEs
  • Availability of alcohol-based hand sanitizers in common areas
  • Self-monitoring and reporting any illness within a workplace
  • Thorough cleaning and frequent sanitization of the workplace and frequently touched surfaces.
  • Avoiding non-essential official travel.

Other than the above-mentioned precautions, coworking spaces have had to make physical changes to office design and have offered added flexibility to new and existing clients to ride this COVID tide. This flexibility is in terms of package, term and team size so that the companies can cope in these trying times.

Covid-19 has redefined the entire coworking space, with collaboration and physical networking taking a back seat. Though the existing office spaces can be modified to a certain extent, the new ones will definitely undergo major changes to ensure social distancing, better online working/meeting options with the best possible IT support using the latest technology.

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