Here Are Three Reasons COVID-19 Makes Coworking Spaces Even More Important
There are at least three reasons why not only stronger but also more relevant and required should the coworking industry recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Currently, they are probably one of your main assets in recovery now.
Reason No. 1: Remote Workers Have to Work Somewhere
The pandemic will encourage cities to "embrace telework," as Richard Florida and Steven Pedigo have noted. They quote Tulsa Remote, a system run by public and private entities in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to draw remote staff from elsewhere. Coworking spaces play a vital role in the initiative, housing the remote employees that have been relocated and helping them tap into the local scene.
For the first time now, many people are only getting acquainted with telework and working out all kinds of ways to make it easy. This may mean that more staff and employers are at peace with it. But that doesn't mean all those remote employees will forever be employed at home. My prediction is that after a few months of lockout and working at home millions of people will be willing to work from anywhere else, somewhere else.
Reason No. 2: Resource Coordination for Small Business
Coworking spaces not only meet remote workers' needs: they are a vital support system for small enterprises, sole owners, self-employed employees and other entrepreneurs. We are a lifeline especially for small businesses that "operate on the outskirts" of local economies. Working at home doesn't offer a remedy for all of them, and the burden especially falls on those in lower-income quintiles.
It is these peripheral businesses that would be most difficult to penetrate with the money being funneled into the Small Business Administration. Many are now facing significant obstacles to accessing capital or local business networks. They may not have the means to qualify for new credits and grants. City leaders are already voicing fear and disappointment that they can not get in touch with all their local businesses that might benefit from the authorisations of the CARES Act.
Coworking spaces are well placed to assist in organizing and directing aid through numerous local disaster response funds. They are better linked to the peripheral and hard-to-reach enterprises; they know them personally, in many cases; and they have trusting relationships.
Reason No. 3: Community is Key to Recovery
Coworking spaces are private, collective economic engines. In its 2020 Impact Report, released in January, Launch Pad revealed that, across its five locations, their member businesses had:
Created over 9,000 jobs,
Raised over $230 million in equity capital, and
Leased over one million square feet of commercial real estate.*
(*FD: I assisted Launch Pad with their Impact Report.)
Exactly those are the kinds of figures that city and national leaders worry about. Come summer, they'll be searching for ways to build jobs and fill office space after the crisis's emergency phase abates. Coworking facilities can improve.
The community aspect is just as important as economic impact — and that will be crucial for recovery and rebound. As we step into a future characterized by some ever-present degree of social distance, it might break down group relations. The economic hit to small businesses would lead to "decay" of "organizational capital" which will be difficult to recover, says Tyler Cowen.
More than ever, businessmen, business owners and employees will need social networks and local ties to recover their footing. We are also seeing a certain degree of communities rally behind their local businesses through gift card malls and other support outlets. That is a fantastic sign; it lasts, hopefully.
However, it won't be like turning a switch when the lockdowns end. Some enterprises will not reopen; some hopes of entrepreneurship will be stymied forever. The power of the community will be important to help people reconnect, create new networks and support each other.
This is what successful coworking spaces are doing: they are community centers, vital sources of local communication that will be a key ingredient in the crisis rebound.
Are You Ready to Find Your New Coworking Space?
Victory Workspace has been serving professionals in the Walnut Creek, California area for over ten years, and even after the Covid 19 Shelter in Place is over we will be here for you. We offer a large variety of coworking spaces, short term office rentals, meeting rooms and a welcoming event space with plenty of free parking for you or your guests. All that while providing our clients with daily opportunities to network with other business-minded professionals just like you! To learn more, set up your free tour or inquire about which one of services might be right for you, reach out to one of our amazing Community Guides at Victory Workspace for more information.