CAN COWORKING SPACES SURVIVE THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC?
As the coronavirus forces facilities to shut down all over the world, one of the industries hit hardest by this transition is the coworking sector.
While not all coworking spaces have been forced to shut down, many are experiencing huge vacancies as people opt to work from home and practice strict social distancing.
“We’re going to have a big transition from people switching from their full membership to the hold membership, and of course that will have a big financial impact on us,” said Hannah Ashford, head of community at Factory Berlin, one of the most notable coworking spaces in the city.
For instance, UK-based Second Home was forced to temporarily close all of its London locations this month, while operators like 42workspace in Rotterdam are encouraging people to work from home.
According to a survey of over 14,000 coworking spaces across 172 countries by marketplace website Coworker, 72% of spaces have witnessed a big drop in the number of people using their spaces since the outbreak.
Many operators are working to move their communities online to continue keeping members engaged at home. For example, Berlin-based Wunderhaus is looking to provide virtual classes and workshops for children and mothers hosted by freelancers.
Although Factory Berlin is still open, Ashford said it will be working to get as many events as it can online, including workshops, educational events and socializing.