Written by Josh Mente, Founder and Community Director at Co-Balt Workspace
Since the news first broke that a COVID-19 vaccine had been discovered and would soon be rolled out, there’s been light at the end of the tunnel for people and businesses across the country.
But what does the COVID-19 vaccine really mean for the coworking business?
While there are a ton of factors that come into play—like how quickly the roll-out happens and how many people are willing to get vaccinated—I think you can make some educated assumptions about the impact the vaccine will have.
Here are my predictions.
Renewed Hope for a New Normal
If there’s one thing people have been missing, it’s any semblance of normalcy, or even hope that normalcy was within reach.
I think the vaccine changes that. Hope springs eternal with the vaccine on the horizon.
I’m not sure that things will ever be exactly as they were pre-pandemic, but getting back to a new sense of normalcy is the goal. And it’ll also impact consumer behavior.
For the coworking industry specifically? I think we can expect a similar response to other industries.
Vaccine inoculation, or herd immunity, will signal confidence that we can resume our normal activities with a safer sense of being. We can return to what our new lives look like without the fear of illness or death looming over our shoulders.
The Effects of New Ways of Working
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of remote work and the growth of the distributed workforce happened with exponential speed.
And organizations have realized that people work just as well remotely as they did in the office. On top of that, businesses are seeing an opportunity to save significant amounts of money by reducing the size of their office spaces.
With this disruption, indelible changes will most likely be permanent.
So, as people start feeling safe in going back to work, those who don’t want to work remotely will be able to return to a professional community, belonging, and social interaction.
And for organizations (and professionals) that want to move to permanent remote work but realize that working from home can present unique challenges, coworking will become an even more attractive and cost-conscious alternative to traditional office space.
Changes to the Coworking Community Member Experience
The experience that members have at coworking spaces has already changed: new safety measures and CDC guidelines mean wearing masks in open areas, maintaining social distance, and cleaning and sanitizing thoroughly, among many others.
But what does this look like in the longer term?
I believe we can expect a permanent shift from a wide-open coworking concept towards more well-thought-out areas where we can be together but separate if needed. It will mean more closed-door private offices and less flexible desk space (albeit not zero flexible desk space).
At Co-Balt, we’ve thought through ventilation, hygiene, and space planning to create a safer and better experience for our community members.
And over time, as the vaccine starts to work, we’ll be able to start creating more community events and activities again as we see people gravitating back towards interaction.
In fact, I think that this will be the biggest and most lasting impact. With forced isolation, I think a lot of people will learn that they don’t embrace human interaction enough, they’ll miss it, and they’ll start to crave it.
So, I expect to see coworking spaces become more of a village and community than just a workplace—a respite from the coffee shop idea and more of a place to go where people can be around like-minded individuals.
Long term, I strongly believe that the future is bright.
Someone very wise once told me that things are never as good as they seem and certainly never as bad as they appear. Time heals all wounds and I believe this pandemic will create long-lasting positive changes. Things will get back to normal—it’s inevitable.
The vaccine brings hope that the new normal will come sooner rather than later. And that hope will mean a renewed passion and longing for community and togetherness—all core pillars of what makes coworking so special.
There is light at the end of the tunnel and, despite the challenges we’ve endured, the future is bright for the coworking industry.
Want to Take Your Workdays to the Next Level in 2021?
If you’d like to learn more about how coworking spaces can benefit your business in 2021, or if you’d like to book a tour of Co-Balt Workspace, get in touch with us today.