The flexible workspace industry is on the front line of an economic crisis. With reduced mobility and imposed work from home policies by many companies globally, coworking and other shared spaces are expected to have suffered a particularly strong hit.
But how exactly has the crisis impacted coworking operators globally? What are the impacts of the health and economic crisis on flexible workspace demand and occupancy, employment, and expectations for the future of this industry?
With the purpose of answering these questions, Coworkintel has partnered with industry experts to survey flexible workspace operators all around the world and present this report offering unique insights on the state of the industry.
Several commentators forecasted the occurrence of an epidemic of the current scale in a highly connected world, but the economic consequences have been a Black Swan: an event with small probability but huge consequences - at the very least a personal tragedy to many operators.
Averages may hide those significant events:
Overall occupancy has dropped by 57% / the average employee count has fared better but the frequency of spaces going to 0 occupancy and 0 employees has been significant.
This is also reflected in a general view that recovery will not occur before 6 months (Jan ‘21).
Such a situation may lead to a consolidation of the industry.
- On average 57% drop in occupancy but more moderate impact on employee count
- However some important “tail events” in particular on headcount hidden by averages: 10% of spaces lost all employees
- This could lead to a consolidation of the industry
- Close to half of the operators under lease have renegotiated it
- Operators have felt that landlords have been more supportive than governments
- Respondents do not anticipate an immediate return to normal: a majority is looking at 6 months from now / Jan ‘21
Wide range of countries with a majority of independent medium to small size operators. Top countries / regions are: France, Spain, US, UK, Germany and LatAm
European spaces at slightly lower occupancy pre lock-down than US, LatAm and others
Drop in occupancy seen across the board with respondents expecting occupancy back to pre-crisis level by Jan 2021
Large drop in occupancy across the board in particular US / UK with Germany less affected.
Germany has had less strict lockdown measures than other countries
Employment dropped by half in Germany, which may mean that respondents have interpreted answer in terms of hours worked (employees kept in service but half-time)
Coworking spaces take typically 4 - 5 years to reach their long-term level occupancy (75-80%).
Older spaces were at higher levels of occupancy pre-crisis but have also been hit harder
Want to see more insights on occupancy, employment level and other fundamental metrics for flexible workspaces?