Co-Working Could Be the Future of Workplaces
As more Americans are working from home — in some cases indefinitely — co-working companies are at a crossroads.
Before COVID-19, co-working spaces were growing exponentially and according to real-estate company JLL, co-working offices were projected to account for 30% of the commercial real estate market by 2020. Then the pandemic sent many to their dining room tables for Zoom calls, leaving co-working spaces on shaky ground.
Now, in August, WeWork says it’s on track to be profitable by 2021, and Workbar CEO Sarah Travers said the pandemic simply accelerated the need for co-working spaces.
“The work-from-home honeymoon is over,” Travers said. “People are social beings, and we need human interaction outside Slack and Zoom. I don’t think a world exists where flexibility and mobility aren’t going to be keys. It’s up to the co-working companies to be trailblazers and be the ones who are customizing pilot programs for the larger companies that are new to this type of workplace programming.”
Workbar, a company with most offices in Boston, has remained open since March and boasts the wellness of its space — high quality air filtration, social distancing measures, cleanliness stations and thermal scanners. Travers says co-working spaces are concerned with the wellness of members.
The Centers for Disease Control has released employer guidelines for an office space, which include desk arrangements that ensure six feet between employees, increased air filtration, and staggered shifts and break times.
Travers said she’s seen more members come into the Workbar spaces recently, and large companies are contacting Workbar as they look to bring people back into an office safely.
Similarly, WeWork has recently signed contracts with companies such as Mastercard, Microsoft and Citigroup who are expanding their office spaces and socially distancing their employees. After laying off half of its workforce at the start of the pandemic, current WeWork chairman Marcelo Claure told the Financial Times this summer that the startup is seeing a rise in use of its flexible office spaces.
“We have companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon who have told their employees that they can work from wherever they are,” Claure said. “We have a lot of those employees who basically now come to a WeWork facility to use it one day a week, two days a week, three days a week.”
Regardless, some people are no longer working from their dining room table, but creating a permanent office space in their home. IKEA reported seeing a spike in sales for both residential and professional office furniture, as families try to work under the same roof and some kids prepare for schooling online this semester.
Travers said this sort of working dynamic isn’t feasible in the long term, and that’s when people will turn to co-working companies.
“No one is going to go back into their home office Monday through Friday, nine to five,” Travers said. “They’re going to require a couple [of] days in their corporate headquarters, maybe a day at home, and then they’re going to need a place to go to work that is as healthy as their home but as productive as their office and that’s where these co-working companies will really succeed.”
In The News
Turkey prices are sinking as the pandemic may keep some American families from hosting big groups this Thanksgiving. The price of ingredients in a traditional turkey dinner for 10 people is down to the lowest level in a decade, driven largely by grocers discounting the meal's centerpiece to... Read More
As health officials warn of the risks of Thanksgiving travel, more than half of Americans still plan to venture away from home, according to a new survey. The website Tripadvisor says 56% of people intend to take trips for the holiday this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, a... Read More
DALLAS — Three of the biggest U.S. airlines say demand is weakening for the usually busy Thanksgiving period as the CDC cautioned Americans against traveling for the holiday. United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines said Thursday that they have seen an increase in cancellations and a decrease in new bookings as a surge in COVID-19 cases... Read More
Pfizer Inc. said a final analysis of clinical trial data showed its COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective, paving the way for the company to apply this week for the first U.S. regulatory authorization for a coronavirus shot. The U.S. drugmaker and partner BioNTech SE said their vaccine protected people of all ages and... Read More
LONDON (AP) — The EU's efforts to rein in the power of big tech companies such as Google and Facebook through antitrust investigations have taken too long, dulling their effectiveness, a report said Thursday. Legal tools available to the bloc's competition regulators, meanwhile, have not kept... Read More
After nearly two years and a pair of deadly crashes, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Boeing’s 737 Max for flight. The nation’s air safety agency announced the move early Wednesday, saying it was done after a “comprehensive and methodical” 20-month review process. Regulators around the... Read More