18 de June 2020
Higher demand for co-working spaces due to the pandemic
After almost three months of working at home, going back to the offices as they used to seem to be a strange reality for a lot of people and companies that may have had to cancel the lease of their corporate facilities. Co-working spaces are becoming a good alternative for lower costs and to give employees a more flexible work dynamic.
The momentum imposed by the pandemic has changed the day-to-day of most workers all over the world. That change was seen as a crisis at the beginning, but it has also offered an opportunity to transform work routines, allowing a more effective use of time, and reducing fixed costs for the companies.
Nowadays, in a city like Bogota, which has a workforce of more than 6.2 million people, and which, in 2019, had 68% of the medium and large companies in Colombia, co-working spaces have emerged as an option that is becoming more relevant every day.
According to Samir Amad, VP of Sales for Latin America of IWG, a multinational company that offers flexible office spaces in more than 140 countries all around the World, “people don’t want to be far away from home. They want to have a mix between their personal life, quality of life, and their work life; they want to work in a more productively and collaboratively way.”
All the above-mentioned is possible due to the so-called ‘digital economy’ or ‘fourth industrial revolution economy,’ which is characterized by the automation of processes and the use of technology to complete different tasks from any place and at any time.
This desire from employees and the financial struggles of many companies during this time has made it possible for firms in different sectors of the economy to look into flexible office spaces or co-working spaces. In Bogota alone, there are more than 40 of these, according to figures from Invest in Bogota.
“More than ever, we are receiving an incredible quantity of inquiries from companies in business sectors that, before this, we didn’t consider as clients,” affirms Amad.
Further, Diego Velez, CEO of Tinkko, a Colombian company that offers flexible office spaces in Bogota and Medellin, says that “what this crisis has done is to change aggressively the mindset of large companies. This has shown them that it is not necessary to make big investments in traditional offices. They just need to dedicate all their efforts and budget to develop and reach their mission.”
For Matias Marmissolle, CEO of CoWork Latam, the future of coworking spaces is highly promising. “The demand for flexible office spaces will grow quicker than before. Without a doubt, what awaits us after all this crisis is more flexibility”. Before Coronavirus, the perspectives for the sector was that 30% of the offices in Latin America would be flexible offices by 2030. However, according to Marmissolle, the region will reach this number well before that.
Flexibility also needs a physical and a shared working space, according to Velez. “The key factor of humanity is being social. We are not going to lose this. We can remain for some days at home, but we will also need a working place. Companies cannot let people be alone at home. They need to continue giving their DNA to their employees. This is necessary for the development of their branding, the correct development of the philosophy, and the business itself.”
Flexible working spaces are not just furnished offices with flexible rental plans. They are also networking spaces that work as a collective creative net.
According to Juan Gabriel Perez, Executive Director of Invest in Bogota, the agency that has supported the arrival to Bogota of large international firms such as Spaces, WeWork and CoWork Latam, “co-working spaces are so important because they promote an environment of creativity, collaboration, and relationships among different industries and knowledge. These kind of spaces are a key factor for a city like Bogota, which is becoming the Latin American capital of entrepreneurship because of its business ecosystem and is, therefore, one of the most important business centers of the region.”
Over the upcoming years, it is expected that the co-working industry will recover quickly and continue to grow at a rate of 23% annually, as it was before the pandemic, according to Matias Marmissolle, of CoWorkLatam.