According to the latest Coworking Market Report, the coworking spaces industry is expected to shrink from $9.27 billion in 2019 to $8.24 billion in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic. However, recent developments seem to suggest the worst may be over for the industry.
Surge in WeWork Memberships
The big news in coworking this month is all about the surge in memberships coworking operator WeWork experienced in September.
A WeWork spokesperson reported that they sold 13 times more All Access passes in September than they did in August. They’re also seeing four times more single desk bookings.
WeWork and other coworking companies are taking advantage of this renewed interest in shared spaces.
Explaining the Renewed Interest in Coworking
Initially, coworking saw an enormous drop in members. A March 2020 survey by Coworker reported 66 percent meeting room cancellations, 35 percent membership cancellations, and 20 percent space closure.
From offices and shared spaces, the official policy of most companies was for their employees to work from home to curb the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19.
However, the abrupt shift to remote working left many in a negative state of mental health. A few months into remote working and the drastic effects have started to be seen.
Microsoft 365’s corporate vice president, Jared Spataro, reported in July that 60 percent of the people they’ve surveyed feel less connected to their colleagues because of remote working, and specifically, working from home.
Melissa Whitson, psychologist and associate professor at the University of New Haven, added that to those working remotely, there’s always the threat that they might lose work or get a pay cut, adding to their anxiety.
A LinkedIn survey backs this up. It reported that 86 percent of remote workers feel that they need to work harder to prove to their bosses they deserve to keep their jobs.
These factors have a detrimental effect on the remote workers’ mental health. By July, 69 percent of remote workers are showing burnout symptoms. This is a 35 percent increase from global online employment platform Monster May survey result.
Since it’s clear that most offices won’t be re-opening, at least until 2021, remote workers are turning to coworking once again.
Rising from the Ashes
Pockets of bright spots are emerging in the coworking industry as some operators see signs of increased business.
Awfis is one of them.
“We totally see a ‘V’-shaped recovery for the co-working sector. Even today, we’re doing extremely good in terms of our sales numbers,” said Amit Ramani, founder and chief executive officer of Awfis.
Coworkatthemall, a coworking startup that has delayed their launch several times before, sees optimism as well.
“We’re definitely seeing a huge uptick in inquiries on when we’re planning to launch (in Chicago) compared to just a couple of months ago. This tells me people are starting to really get antsy about working from home,” says Gene Butler, the founder.