September 12th, 2020
Just as COVID-19 has affected daily life and business for everyone around the world, so it has had an impact on the coworking industry. Naturally, collective spaces for working in groups in a shared environment are far less sought after in the climate of medically necessary social isolation brought on by the pandemic.
While this unfortunate time may seem to have damaged the coworking industry, it has in fact opened up a whole new field of prospective clients, as the world turns to remote work for safer business best practices. MIT reports that 34% of Americans who previously commuted to work are now working remotely from home, and leaders at Global Workplace Analytics predict that many of these - up to 30%, in fact - will continue to work from home when the pandemic has subsided.
As public spaces are just beginning to re-open around the world, it remains to be seen how coworking facilities will manage social distancing and preventing the future spread of COVID-19. A solution may present itself as simply as gradually reopening, beginning only with private office spaces while discontinuing the use of coworking and communal spaces. Of course, mask-wearing is the CDC recommended tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in public spaces. And handwashing, vigorously and often, remains the standard of hygiene for public safety.
As more public places re-open, new strategies for public health safety will continue to emerge and develop. As coworking spaces are specifically conducive to the gathering of large crowds, it is likely that some simple solutions will present themselves to the prevention of infection in the coworking population in the coming months.
Coworking facilities were growing and thriving as an industry before the pandemic when only 4% of Americans were working remotely. With this surge in remote work carrying through the pandemic, coworking spaces will continue to expand to meet the needs of the new population of those who have transitioned to the remote workforce permanently.