The impact of COVID-19 has accelerated a number of flexible workspace trends which have now expanded on a global scale.
With more companies placing greater emphasis on health, hygiene, and a positive work-life balance for their staff, the demand for flexible offices will continue to surge, playing a crucial role in the gradual ‘return to work’ or the ‘new normal’ off work.
Trends such as enterprise outsourcing and decentralization, a boom in wellness offerings, and a revival of suburban workplace locations have quickly emerged in 2020. Additionally, the expectation for highly-amenitized assets is driving new office development, with coworking operators quickly adapting to meet these needs and provide best-in-class hospitality for members.
The future of work in 2021
To understand the major impacts that the coworking industry has faced this year as a consequence of COVID-19, we examined 7 of the key markets on Coworker — the leading platform for booking coworking spaces worldwide.
The resulting report, Outlook for Key Markets: 2020 Report, provides an overarching view of the trends that are shaping the sector and the implications for operators, as well as forecasts for the industry in 2021. By examining the markets for flexible office space in Dubai, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, New York City, and Pune, we were able to conclude the following trends for 2021:
- Demand is rising among enterprises for low-risk, scalable flex workspace. – As Sydney has shown, coworking operators have seen a sharp increase in companies and corporations looking to leverage the advantages of flexible space-as-a-service and office decentralization.
- With corporates turning to coworking, landlords are seeing new investment opportunities. – Though landlords have typically avoided coworking expansion in the past, Hong Kong’s market shows them capitalizing on vacant space to meet new demand from large enterprises and tech companies.
- Expansion in Grade A vacancies and predominantly residential markets will continue. – Projected demand will fortify in Tier II and Tier III cities in India and elsewhere, as residential coworking locations become increasingly sought after.
- After facing a drop in 2020, occupancy rates will stabilize and gradually increase. – For many key markets, such as London, occupancy levels have remained fairly robust despite demand plummeting in April of this year. This will translate to greater resiliency in the future as demand gradually increases among remote teams.
- Operators will prioritize wellness offerings to meet the demand among professionals for safe, health-first work environments. – As big-city life becomes less appealing, coworking spaces in Lisbon have demonstrated that establishing a brand that focuses on overall work-life balance and wellness is now a key differentiator.
- Open-style office layouts will become increasingly outmoded. – Design elements such as adequate spacing and touch-free fixtures will be prioritized as operators update their workspaces and offer more private, enclosed offices in accordance with new safety regulations in densely populated areas such as NYC.
- More hospitality brands will look to coworking for new partnerships and hotel-based workspaces. – Leading hotel groups such as Rotana Hotels in Dubai will link up with coworking providers to offer greater access to flexible work options at their properties.
Want to learn more?
To gain additional insights about the effects of the pandemic in the world’s leading markets for coworking and explore these trends further, read the full Outlook for Key Markets: 2020 Report here.