What I see happening in coworking—late 2020 and beyond
Published on October 27, 2020.
2020 has been a hard year for many. Interest in office space is still down since March.
You know full well.
But if you’re seeing what I’m seeing, it’s coming back. Slowly but surely, people are returning to their offices.
And that’s positive news! But we aren’t out of the weeds yet.
All you can do is keep showing up and making your business and marketing incrementally better. Not resting on your laurels or crossing your fingers and praying the leads will come.
So what are the moving trends happening today?
Well, here’s what I’m seeing:
1. New markets are being created
The pie is getting bigger. Companies who previously worked in traditional office space are seeking more flexible options. That’s been the trend for a while but COVID has definitely accelerated it.
Tip: Make sure your messaging resonates with this market if you can serve them. Have a dedicated page and/or service about why you’re the better alternative to traditional office. Get listed in places they go looking for office space (i.e. commercial office directories).
2. Remote work is growing
Some companies are going remote, allowing employees to work from anywhere. Others are simply not allowing employees back to their office yet.
That means remote workers are joining the coworking movement—many of whom can’t or don’t want to work from home. Be ready to accommodate this group.
While this trend is still in the early phases, my crystal ball says it’s going to be a meaningful part of the market in 2021 and beyond.
Tip: Create a page and/or service dedicated to the remote worker. Speak to them in their language but also their bosses’ who might be footing the bill. Find value-adds to make your offer uniquely valuable to this group in particular.
3. The cards are bring reshuffled
In addition to the new demand, some people are starting to become more comfortable leaving their homes again. Many are seeking to reclaim their spot in their old coworking/shared office space. But many are also re-evaluating their options. This is your opportunity to show them what they missed the first time.
Continually aim to be everywhere and demonstrate anew why people should choose you.
The spaces I see succeeding are offering competitive prices, taking safety seriously, and are comprised of a high number of private offices (vs. open desks). Go where the market is.
Tip: Pretend you’re shopping for office space. Go to Google and see what comes up. Look at all the ads, articles, and directory listings. How visible are you? Aim to be everywhere you possibly can. The more times people see your brand, the more likely they are to recognize and consider you.
4. Spaces are closing their doors
A lot of spaces have shut down this year. It’s a sad reality and I empathize deeply with those who have had to close their doors.
When I send these emails, I regularly get auto-responses from people who have closed their spaces or furloughed their employees.
It reminds me just how difficult this time has been for everyone and how sharp we must all be with ensuring the longevity of our spaces.
Tip: Do whatever you have to do to stay in business. Double down on serving the members who are still buying. Incentivize a commitment in exchange for preferred rates or added benefits. Better to lock in revenue if you’re struggling, even if it only buys you time. Make profit next year.
Stay in business.
5. Strong business strategy still wins
The spaces that are doing well generally have one in common: they are clear about what makes them a Category of One.
You can’t manufacture the demand for office space, all you can do is harness the demand that already exists.
If your space can serve current demand in a unique and compelling way, and really doubles down/owns it, you’ll be in much better shape than those who aren’t making the trade-offs necessary to be one of a kind.
If you’re interchangeable, you’ll always be pushing the rock up the hill.
Tip: You don’t have to be the cheapest, but you do need to have an excellent experience if you’re not. Go to the edges of what people want, whether that’s experience or convenience. Inexpensive or WOW. Doing both is a myth that won’t serve you.
I hope this helps jog your ideas and gets you thinking. I’m going to commit to publishing more of these articles again. I’ve been a bit busy and letting them slide.
I need to take my own advice and keep showing up.
Until next time,