The flexible workspace sector took a hit during the COVID-19 lockdowns – but coworking is thriving as we head into 2021.
We share six reasons why flexible workspace is emerging as the logical post-COVID choice.
Flexible workspace market forecasts
Off highs of US$9.27 billion in 2019, the global flexible workspace market fell to US$8.24 billion in 2020, registering a negative compound annual growth rate of more than -12%.
Yet, despite occupancy levels falling by as much as 50% in March this year, some regions had already recovered to pre-crisis levels by mid-2020.
What does the future hold for an industry that exhibited 44% growth in the five years prior to the pandemic?
The Global Coworking Growth Study 2020 predicts a sustained market rebound from 2021 to 2024, with the annual growth rate reaching 21.3%.
The number of coworking spaces worldwide is expected to pass 40,000 by 2024.
Other reports have pegged the recovery at US$11.52 billion by 2023.
Factors contributing to growth
Here are six key factors accelerating the growth of the flexible workspace sector.
1. Coworking goes mainstream
Companies that wouldn’t have opted for remote-first workforces are now comfortable with the idea after seeing how well they worked during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Large corporates, entrepreneurs, freelancers and start-ups are now using coworking and flexible office spaces as dispersed, work-ready locations.
A strong demand for serviced private offices, longer-term contracts and larger floor space suggests coworking is rapidly becoming the on-scale solution for big business.
2. Sustainable materials and practices integrated into the workspace
The demand for sustainable workspace is at an all-time high, particularly with individuals and start-ups committed to mitigating the effects of climate change.
Leading suppliers of flexible workspace are developing the office of the future with eco-friendly work environments that include:
- natural building materials
- non-toxic paint
- LED lighting
- energy-efficient cooling and heating systems
- solar panels
- rain-harvesting techniques.
3. Remote working more palatable for more people
In a recent survey conducted by Coworking Insights, the vast majority of respondents who worked remotely for the first time rated the experience as overwhelmingly positive.
The flexibility of working any time and from anywhere, together with cost savings, increased productivity and no commute, were rated the most significant benefits of remote work.
4. Proactive shift in coworking terms and policies
Suppliers of coworking spaces and shared offices are adapting to demand by adopting a more agile approach.
Flexible leases are drawn up to support business expansion and contraction.
Rent rebates for tenants who are unable to access premises due to emergencies or disasters are now the new normal.
5. Heightened emphasis on community
One positive impact of COVID-19 is the extraordinary sense of community it has evoked.
Coworking taps into community and helps people reconnect, build networks and share ideas.
Sharing a workspace enables people to make the connections required to help grow a business.
6. Shared workspaces focus on health
Shared workspaces have adapted to the challenge of managing the impact of COVID-19 by embracing strict healthcare measures.
Temperature scanning at points of access, contact tracing, social distancing, the mandatory use of face masks and the availability of hand sanitisers has created a safe, hygienic and flexible workspace.
Why not become part of the dynamic evolution from office to connected coworking space?
At The Workspace, we offer affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking, and all our members have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services.