Coworking Insights recently published the “2020 Future of Work Report: What the Future Holds for Coworking and Remote Work”. The report was done in collaboration with Coworker and its goal was to identify workers’ sentiments regarding the workplace, remote working, and the impact this will have on coworking spaces. 
Key Findings from the Report
  • 87.1% of respondents stated they would recommend remote working to a friend, giving remote working an overall score of 77/100. 
  • 73.9% of remote workers enjoy having a flexible schedule most of all. Additional benefits of remote working include the ability to work from anywhere, no commute, cost-savings, and improved productivity. 
  • 79.7% of respondents said they are more productive when working remotely. 
  • 77.2% stated that remote work has had a positive impact on their mental health. 
  • 76.4% stated that remote work has had a positive impact on their family/social life. 
  • 71.5% of workers that used coworking prior to the pandemic plan to return to it, while 54.9% of remote workers that didn’t use coworking before stated that they will consider joining a coworking space as a remote work solution in the future. 
What Does This Mean for Coworking Spaces?
Like various other industries, coworking has been hard hit by the pandemic. Many operators faced a major drop in the number of people utilizing their services, with 71.6% of spaces saying they have witnessed a significant drop in the number of people working from their spaces since the outbreak began. 
Plus, 40.8% of coworking spaces reported a negative impact on membership and contract renewals and 67% of spaces have experienced a drop in the number of new membership inquiries. 
As a response, many coworking spaces adapted their operational models and policies:
  • Adjusted cancellation policies to allow for more relaxed cancellation periods.
  • Lower pricing for new members and discounts to current members.
  • New student memberships for university students transitioning to online classes.
  • New “virtual plans” and virtual mail services, in which no physical presence is required.
  • Ability to rollover any unused days to future months for part-time shared desk members or pause membership entirely. 
  • Single-person rentals of meeting rooms for virtual meetings.
  • Virtual member events and online workshops, including collaborations with video conferencing companies.
  • Partnerships with local businesses to assist members and their families, including additional services by food delivery companies. 
  • Changing marketing strategies to reflect a new focus on selling private office memberships.
The good news is that the utilization of coworking spaces will likely increase in the future. 
Previous coworking members are likely to return to them once the pandemic passes and, more importantly, people that weren’t previously exposed to coworking before the pandemic will likely turn to it as a permanent solution to support new working models and corporate policies. 
According to the report, “a majority of people found that remote working had a positive impact on many aspects of their day-to-day lives, both personally and professionally.” So much in fact, that 52.9% of first-time remote workers said they now aspire to work remotely for the remainder of their career and 53.6% of them said they anticipate their employer’s remote work policy to change as a result of the pandemic. 
We will likely see an uptick of corporates and SMEs that will allow some level of remote work to continue on a more permanent basis.