The theory of co-working, especially in dense urban areas, is well documented in the recent past. It was taken from a nascent business the had its beginning with Regus to one of the most highly valued new real estate formats in the world. It caught fire with WeWork and now that that fire has been doused (this week’s WeWork valuation was $2.9 Billion down from $47 Billion) is co-working itself still viable? With Social Distancing, masks, gloves and all that goes along with the return to work, is the concept of close quarters still a workable and profitable endeavor?
I thing after a pause for the pandemic to blow over, it still may be very viable. Unless we are all convinced that dating, going to a sporting event, having dinner with friends, going to school, whispering in someone’s ear, etc, etc, are done for good, co-working is just as likely to come back as any of these other activities. There is no reason once we have been vaccinated that workers of all ages will shun the concept.
Let’s think about this rationally. Will employees be reticent about going back to their main workplaces for a while? Of course they will! But as things return to normal all the good reasons for the creation of co-working will be as valid as they ever were. There has been a lot of discussion about how CRE will hold up in the post pandemic world with some companies allowing workers to work from home permanently. It is my belief that after a period of time working from home will get old and workers will clamor to get back to an office with co-workers and friends and at that point coworking seems like it will be a perfect way for many of us to do so.
Just to wrap up, I think that we can all agree that working from home is a trend that will continue for some time but it’s my belief that workers will tire of it and clamor to return to an office in some form. That may be a co-working location, a remote office of some sort or simply working from the office on certain days and from home other days. All the good reasons for co-working still hold true and as soon as we are all vaccinated, tired of looking at the same four walls and ready for some human contact, co-working will boom again.
I’m heading out to look at just such an office to work from right now. I’ll keep you posted.