The coronavirus outbreak slowed down the evolution of the coworking spaces and meeting rooms industry. Instead of renting working spaces, companies shifted towards allowing their employees to work from home. As a result, the coworking spaces market declined from US$9.27 billion in 2019 to US$8.24 billion in 2020. However, the industry may recover after the pandemic, reaching US$11.52 billion in 2023.
While lockdowns are slowly lifting due to the distribution of vaccines, many companies still use a hybrid workforce (work from home and office workers) to offer their staff peace of mind, security, and flexibility. Another benefit of using a hybrid workforce is to cut costs on office supplies and other ancillaries.
In an uncertain future after the COVID-19 pandemic, what will happen within the coworking spaces and meeting rooms industry?
Rent Meeting Rooms on a Need-to Basis
Several meeting rooms providers - like Book a Space - offer meeting room rental on a need-to basis. Companies can rent such space for team meetings, job interviews, seminars, and other business events whenever needed.
The best part about using Book a Space is that they have an extensive database of spaces of different sizes. They also offer flexibility in adding extra services. For example, meeting organizers can book meeting rooms and add food and beverages, audio-visual equipment, and so on. This way, they are free to focus on the critical parts of the event: attendees, meeting agenda, presentations, etc.
Superflex Coworking Spaces
Because of lockdowns during the pandemic, many companies providing coworking spaces had to adapt and offer customers more flexible rental options. Instead of renting an office on a monthly basis, companies and freelancers can rent an office by the day, only when they need it. With no long-term commitments, customers save money, and coworking spaces providers still have a consistent cash flow that would not be possible with empty rooms.
For example, Us&Co offers superflex coworking space rentals by the day, with added benefits like high-speed WiFi, mineral water, coffee, and tea. In addition, they have a “pay-as-you” go monthly option for companies or individuals that only need office space one or two days every month. Finally, monthly plans are available for companies needing to rent a coworking space a few days every week.
In ROOMS, co-working space complex by Fattal Hotels, all plans can be tailored made to the costumer, according to the number of tenants and the nature of the company. From open space work spaces, which can be rented on a daily and hourly basis, through offices of various sizes to dedicated floors. In addition, tenants can enjoy other free activities, arranged by ROOMS, such as weekly Happy Hour on the rooftop of the complex (in Raanana and Tel Aviv), breakfast buffet, free snack bar and drinks, gym for the residents of the complex and more.
ROOMS - Coworking space complex by Fattal Hotels
Stricter Hygiene Rules and Social Distancing
Like everywhere in hospitality, coworking spaces and meeting rooms must adhere to strict hygiene rules. Vendors already comply and have in place protocols and standards in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WeWork, for instance, has enhanced disinfection protocols, hand sanitizers and wipes available at all times, face coverings for the community teams, staggered seating, and buffer zones to give teams peace of mind and allow them to practice social distancing.
Spaces has a response to COVID-19, too. The company follows both recommendations by local governments and the World Health Organisation (WHO): frequent cleaning, physical distancing for the workplace, detailed health and safety guidelines signage, and meeting room safety protocols.
Transform Retail Spaces and Restaurants into Coworking Spaces
Many retail spaces and restaurants had to close down because of lockdowns and operations restrictions imposed by local authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, they lost customers and revenues. But there’s innovation that can help these businesses.
DropDesk offers restaurants and retail spaces the opportunity to choose the hours to operate a coworking space during their closed hours or downtime. This brings DropDesk a more extensive database of coworking spaces to offer customers and helps restaurants and retailers maintain a cash flow even when they cannot open their doors to diners and shoppers.
The future coworking spaces and meeting rooms will likely adopt touchless technologies to offer their communities peace of mind in a world still threatened by COVID-19: digital keys for keyless access and automatic check-in and check out when workers access the spaces.
Other touchless solutions may include motion-activated hand sanitizer and soap dispensers, hand dryers, touchless toilet flush, motion-activated sinks, and voice-activated controls for lights and other tech devices like HVAC systems.
The office space as we know it will adapt to new realities imposed by the health-aware worker, and coworking spaces and meeting rooms must follow through. Besides innovations in the sector, consideration could also be given to lowering the rental fees to attract new clients.
Added incentives and perks - like gyms, outdoor spaces, yoga classes, meditation rooms, climbing walls, ergonomic chairs, etc. - will make coworking spaces and meeting rooms even more appealing.
Special consideration should be given to proper sanitization, social distancing, touch-free fixtures, and other protocols that provide peace of mind for their health and safety to the teams using the coworking spaces and meeting rooms.