The COVID-19 Knock-Out Punch For The Open Plan Workspace Industry – Who Will Remain Standing?
It’s not an understatement to say that the shared workspace industry has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Operators that revolve around an open-plan communal structure which is now at odds with current social-distancing guidelines. COVID-19 may very well be the knock-out punch for the open plan coworking business model.
For Laura Kozelouzek, CEO & Founder of Quest Workspaces, a leading workspace provider with twelve centers throughout Florida and New York City, the writing has long been on the wall. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated a clear shift in her client’s needs and expectations.
“Flexibility and undisrupted private office space for individuals and teams is key. Large companies and professionals who were once looking at long term leases are now searching for private office configurations that are safe and offer shorter and flexible terms,“ Laura Kozelouzek said. “Our clients are seeking private office environments that provide an undisturbed work experience and enable social distancing while also offering first-class services to support their business success.”
As the shift toward socially distanced work takes hold, workspace operators are also contending with businesses and entrepreneurs increasingly following the work-from-home trend. While this has provided critical continuity in the thick of a global pandemic, it may not be the most productive or sustainable move into the future.
“Working from home is a challenging balance,” Kozelouzek said. “Combining your personal and work spaces often introduces distractions, relationship challenges, and other work-life challenges. In addition, continued isolation from people eventually has an impact on productivity and mental health. We’re social by nature and we need interaction beyond just virtual meetings and conference calls.”
In fact, astudy demonstrated a strong correlation between stress and mental health concerns in those who remotely work. This landmark study identified that 41% of remote workers reported symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression as compared to just 25% of those who worked in offices as outlined in the graph below. Those who occasionally worked remotely faired better than full-time remote workers, but stress levels remained lowest with those who worked in a dedicated office environment.
The desire for private office space will likely increase as many businesses begin jumpstarting their operations in a post-pandemic world. This raises the legitimate concern of workspace safety for a population that now has social distancing top-of-mind. Coworking operators that have been driven by packing occupancy into open spaces are now struggling to meet these new safety expectations. Operators that revolve around offering fully supported private office space have the lead on addressing workspace needs.
“Workspace operators must be focused on providing productive, safe and supported workspaces that revolve around private and undisrupted work,” Kozelouzek explains. “As an example, Quest Workspaces has adopted aset of guidelines for all of our centers. Our clients enjoy private, sanitized, and safe private offices with professional staff dedicated to supporting their business needs. Our offices also have real walls, not glass fish bowls, and our shared areas including cafes, chat rooms, meeting rooms and reception areas promote ‘Six Feet Safe’ distancing with reduced seating and increased sanitizing schedules.”
So, where does that leave the future of workspaces?
Creative workspace operators will thrive by meeting the new demands for increased safety, social distancing, privacy, service, and support. The industry at large is grappling with reorganizing its spaces and business models to meet these needs. The WeWork model is just one that has shown the risk to businesses and clients of a bad business model and poor delivery. On the other hand, client-focused, nimble and adaptive operators will successfully navigate their client needs through a constantly changing environment that will remain challenging for some time.
“Private office spaces that offer flexibility, support, hospitality, and adaptability are the future of workspaces,”Kozelouzek acknowledged. “This is a model upon which Quest was founded ten years ago because we believed in it then and we believe in it into the future. The evolution is in our continued ability to maximize productivity, technology and personalized support, in a secure and safe environment with motivated and like-minded peers—that’s the best of all worlds. This is the centerpiece of the Quest Workspaces business model.”
Like other industries that are being torn apart and reshaped during the pandemic, the workspace industry is no different. As the dust settles, some workspace operators will inevitably fall to the wayside while others will be elevated through adaptable, client-centric offerings that proactively meet the needs of business in a post-pandemic world.
Quest Workspaces supports a safe, undisrupted and compliant work environment. Our workspaces focus on private offices with onsite support that enables social distancing, and also offer virtual office packages and remote services to keep your business moving forward from your home or Quest office.to find a flexible solution that works for you, and discuss how to benefit from our services while also complying with local COVID-19 mandates.