The COVID-19 pandemic changed how, when, and where people work. It changed the way we think about office space and what employees want and need.
Employees have adapted and so has the workplace. A pre-pandemic day in the office is totally different from a day in the office today. Employers have adopted a flexible work from home schedule and hybrid in office work week. A required five days in the office is now a thing of the past. Employees want flexibility and employers want an office space that can accommodate that same flexibility. Coworking spaces offer a number of benefits aside from providing employees a place to work. Coworking space allows for businesses to grow without expanding their own physical footprint.
What was it like to navigate the start of the Pandemic and how did we survive the onset?
IEnterprise Coworking faced this challenge head on! Deemed an “essential business” – owing to the fact that other businesses reside within our space – it was clear that we needed to modify our offerings in order to provide the flexibility that employers and employees wanted. This came down to several key things. New membership levels for individuals, more options for drop-in users in need of temporary space, virtual memberships, daily office rentals, and meeting room flexibility. Challenging at first, but we found the key to what our businesses want and need from a coworking space. Increased communication, heightened cleanliness, and most importantly - flexibility!
Where Enterprise Coworking and the industry as a whole are at now
It would be a fallacy to think that things have - or ever will - go back to the way they were pre-pandemic. Apart from all the personal changes and growth we all experienced, as well as an entirely new economic climate and landscape that we all now face, it has proven difficult for employers who switched to a work from home model for the duration of the pandemic to bring employees back into the fold of the traditional 9-5 in office hours. This has led to an overall increase in traditional office building vacancies and a surge in non-traditional office needs.
For instance, prior to the pandemic, office building vacancy rates sat at about 12%. Since then, however, these same occupancy rates have soared to over 16% vacancy. This is due largely in part to the same companies who had to send employees to work from home at the start of the pandemic, now realizing employees are often just as, if not more, productive working from home. Furthermore, these employees have reported feelings of much more satisfaction with their work life balances. Thus, increasing retention in an increasingly difficult hiring market. For the employers, this means they can cut back on costly office spaces and increase employee morale all while continuing to provide their benefits, with less overhead. Hence, fewer and fewer “traditional” office spaces are being sought out, increasing said vacancies while growing demand for more flexible and innovative office settings, such as coworking spaces.
Take Enterprise Coworking for example. Understanding this growing demand for flexibility, we have provided several new and revamped flex work models. These include: Floater Memberships (e.g. a membership to the space without a dedicated/permanent work station), drop-in day passes (passes that allow access to the space for an entire day, without having to pay monthly membership fees), affordable meeting and conference room rentals for both members and non-members, daily private office rentals (allowing a team to rent out an entire private office for a day – or even days – at a time, without having a monthly commitment), and Virtual Memberships (e.g. use of our business address for employers business cards, licensing, website and mail services). Check out TravelMag's mention of Enterprise Coworking is their recent article on where to rent meeting rooms in Denver!
Where Coworking is going in the future
When it comes down to it, despite the initial fears brought on by the pandemic, coworking is not only bouncing back – it is back and it is thriving! As businesses continue to come through this pandemic and find their footing in the changed office environment, experts expect coworking to continue to boom. In fact, according to Village WorkSpace, many local business and office space owners are even hiring coworking managers to come in and help them redesign their traditional spaces and working business models in order to be more appealing to this new hybrid working climate. It’s safe to say the office/home hybrid is here to stay and Enterprise Coworking will be here to help every step of the way by providing solutions for employers and employees to be successful.