Companies have realised that with greater connections between the office and home, they don’t need to have huge amounts of office space. People can work in places like ours and change the space depending on their needs.
How have co-working spaces weathered the crisis? What observations have you made during this time?
It’s been quite a test! Both for business models and the promised standard of service offered among flexible office market players. Those that claimed to be pure co-working operators (mostly open-spaces targeted towards freelances) were facing serious challenges. Those, like Business Link, perceived as flexible/ serviced-space providers, whose client portfolio is mostly corporate clients, did better, working hand-in-hand with clients, supporting them in their role as responsible employers.
In general, we observed a slight drop in the number of enquires, but it was mostly motivated by how companies deal with risk-management in the short-term.
Do you think this crisis is redefining the co-working business model? Does it solidify it?
If we look back at other economic crises such as the Subprime Mortgage Crisis, they shook up long-term perspectives and expectations. Companies were not willing to commit to long leases. The Covid-19 crisis has done the same thing. As such, the modus operandi of flex-space has become even more attractive.
Have you noticed a change in the nature of the requests that you’ve received?
Questions about “rotational access” have increased, a mixture of working from home and from the office. Employees can choose when and where they will work.
As such, we decided to launch a new service called “Business Link Rotate”, tailored-made for these clients. It’s becoming more and more popular, especially with employers that have decided to split their teams or introduce shifts.
Do you think that the crisis will change the use of co-working space?
Co-working meaning common spaces that focused on community, didn’t do well. However, I believe that there will be a greater interest in flexible spaces. Clients will be looking for spaces with private-offices or even separated office sectors. I also believe that a traditional lease will be mixed with flex-space, a mixture that will be especially popular among corporate executives responsible for workplace policies.
How could co-working provide a solution to the problems encountered during this health crisis?
Companies have realised that with greater connections between the office and home, they don’t need to have huge amounts of office space. People can work in places like ours and change the space depending on their needs. This gives employees much greater flexibility, which is currently very attractive. Solutions built on top of such needs are enticing for employers looking for cost-effective workplace solutions, who also benefit from leasing adapted space, even for short-term periods.