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As seen in: Mix Roundtable - Future of Coworking

With more and more major businesses turning to coworking-style facilities within their own portfolios, what can the coworking occupier and designer do to ensure that, post-pandemic, the flexibility and freedom of their offering attracts people to their facilities, while ensuring a happy return for those already familiar with this style of working?

Recently, Amtico invited a small panel of industry experts to the new London studio to discuss this ever-evolving subject and what the future holds for coworking. See below some key takeaways from the event. 

 

End user

Coming out of lockdown, landlords have been quite cautious, with a lot of things being put on hold. Focus has been redirected into their existing buildings, sourcing cost-effective materials and innovative designs in order to attract more people into them.

Not only do occupiers need to improve their service levels, they also need to make their offering something special – going beyond the standard safe, secure environment. With demand for design-led spaces increasing, operators look to clever design and technology improvements such as touchless tech and air purifiers - to help attract people back into the spaces.

The pandemic has forced flex operators to look at their offer – exposing some of the weaknesses, particularly club membership type offers, where you’re not fully in control of the space as the occupier. The ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) offer is important to clients – it becomes the number one thing people are looking at when approaching flex space.

It’s now more a tenant-orientated market than a landlord-orientated market – people asking what extra they can get from their building. In a similar way to the coworking/flex offering, these residential schemes are looking to have a differentiator, a USP.

 

What does this mean for the property market?

Some occupiers are facing lease breaks and forced to act, others are waiting to see what happens over the next 12-18months, while other businesses are doing everything to encourage people to return to the workplace.

Although, some occupiers look to increase space, moving away from the high-density approach to a more flexible, collaborative way of working.

Flexible working models

Landlords are yet to fully understand the full extent to the level of service you need to provide. With traditional office spaces getting the bad reputation for it’s safeness and work environment during the pandemic, most people enjoyed the working from home lifestyle. However, with companies saying that home working won’t remain post-pandemic, creating a better, safer and more positive office environment is vital. Culture is massive in offices, you must keep people happy.

 

Focused working areas

There needs to be a mixture of quiet zones and collaborative areas. Depending on the person’s task, will determine where that person will do that task. It’s clear that people want this sense of flexibility, this balance. People also want to still feel part of a community, part of the experience, even if they go into work once a week.

 

Look and feel of flexible working spaces

From having to spend so much time working from home, people have become comfortable to that environment. Thus, their desire for that home-from-home, domestic look in the work place. It’s important that you create that great experience, get people through the door and offer something new and attractive.

Overall, user experience is what is driving it all, and will remain key going forward. While people need suitable, functional workspace, they also need that sense of community, collaboration and interaction. Together with attractive, energetic environments and improved service levels – this will be the minimum requirement when creating successful coworking/flex space.

To find the full discussion made between the experts on coworking, please read the full article below.