How COVID-19 is Impacting Flexible Office Space: What You Should Know About Your Workspace

A coworking space in California.

How COVID-19 is Impacting Flexible Office Space: What You Should Know About Your Workspace

Previously, office spaces were largely occupied in both core and decentralized districts. With its continuous capital calls, the high demands have already created high prices for tenants. In addition to steep prices, states like California with high tax rates pushed several industries to the secondary market. These considerations created an opportunity to fulfill flexible office space needs.

Flexible office space providers have experienced exponential growth in the past 10 years. Many office transactions and leases were made through flexible office space providers prior to the virus. Small startups are no longer the only tenants in flexible office spaces; corporate companies and enterprises are now interested in the benefits of working in flexible office spaces.

For example, WeWork transitioned from 3% of enterprise tenants four years ago to 40% of enterprise tenants (60% small business tenants) today. Providers in this market are actively expanding to accommodate enterprises’ developing office space needs.

Also, coworking spaces are no longer limited to tech companies. A variety of businesses are in need of flexible office space to carry out their operations.

A coworking space in California.

Solution-driven services instead of service-driven solutions

At OnePiece Work, our members aren’t looking for traditional nor design-build leases, whether for a new space or for an HQ. Instead, they make purpose-driven decisions when deciding on office space. Lighting, specialized office furniture arrangement, dedicated cable internet, privacy, customized concierge needs, and extended resources network are all the expanded services we offer to qualify the flexible needs from our tenants.

Not only we help corporations and small businesses like Sapling, but also we provide service to landlords helping them navigate the flex office market to develop successful strategies. For example, landlords like our Santa Monica and Santa Clara have unique vision and demands for their properties, we would have to sit in to provide consultancy services at first, work with landlord together to develop strategies on delivering customized property management and event services to navigate leasing activities at their niche focus.

A coworking space in California.

Efficiency is the new consideration for the future of work

The coronavirus outbreak has triggered a trial run for remote work on a large scale. Capital calls for new funds will become more challenging, accelerating the re-decision making process of office space for lots of companies. Companies today must also consider how the office will impact company culture, how to keep attracting best talents, and how to inspire creativity while keeping the team productive.

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Economically efficient with high productivity considerations become more important focuses, rather than just a number. Work from home will see some new adoption as firms realize that it doesn’t mean the end of productivity, but the majority of workers will choose to get back in the office to maintain work-life separation.

A coworking space in California.

Office configurations must change to adapt to the new health + safety environments

Reopening the economy will definitely be a slow process. I see companies slowly introducing their employees back into office spaces over time, likely over the course of a few years. Companies will likely also implement different rotations schedules while focusing more on the safety of their workspaces.

At OnePiece Work, we have to increase the cleaning requirements to sanitize surfaces and common areas after every use at work. Social-distancing among work stations are also essential, we are in action to not overcrowd our offices, which is a practice that we implemented before the crisis by rearranging or removing office furniture.

We’ll also have to avoid complicated operational processes by pausing non-essential services such as snacks and events, which often involve too many vendors. Masks are required and provided for all members and employees at OnePiece Work, as well as limiting the capacity of our offices. In our Shanghai office, we even have to conduct health tests daily for all members prior to them entering the office.

Companies today should plan for short-term strategies such as a three-month, six-month plan, rather than for the next two years. Conditions around the world are changing rapidly, so you must be able to adapt accordingly. Focus on a strategic approach for your office space. Consider factors such as available services, commitment length, cost, space ownership, and the stability of the master tenant.

Vickey Li
Vickey Li
[email protected]

Vickey Li is the co-founder and CEO at OnePiece Work, a global community of innovative leaders in tech. OnePiece Work was built upon Vickey’s experience living and working abroad in major metropolitan cities like Shanghai, Hong Kong, and San Francisco. Her passion for community and extensive experience in commercial real estate led her to the vision of a cross-border coworking space that would promote entrepreneurship, innovation, and accelerate global expansion for startups. In just three years, OnePiece Work has expanded to 10 cities globally and is a community of over 300 companies worldwide.

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