The world and countless businesses have come to a standstill because of COVID-19. The current pandemic is unlike anything in recent memory. Some economists are comparing the events transpiring today to those of the late 1920s and the 1930s. The word “depression” is being voiced on leading media outlets.
For businesses, the impact of the deadly virus has been profound. Many have closed their offices at least until the lockdown is lifted. Of those that have closed for the time being, some may never reopen.
Entrepreneurs who invested in office spaces are suffering huge losses. They owe rent on their offices. Most businesses will be paying rent for offices that will not be used for at least a few weeks, and possibly even longer.
Offices- where customers visited, and deals were struck- have become huge liabilities. Their expenses need to be paid even though the premises are not being used.
It will take time for normalcy to return. While the lockdown will be lifted on April 14th, many will be wary of venturing outdoors for even longer.
Startups that want to mitigate risks like those witnessed today have a suitable recourse. Instead of leasing traditional offices, they would do better to rent an office in a coworking space where they can enjoy the bundle of facilities along with convenience for effective and efficient working.
Coworking Works Well
A coworking space has many advantages over traditional offices. Such an area has every amenity a startup needs. It has high-speed internet, conference rooms, offices, and cubicles, plush interiors, meeting rooms, projectors, espresso machines and most importantly other driven professionals.
While renting a large office is a sunk cost, leasing a place in a coworking space offers flexibility. Coworking spaces are nimble and agile. Their adaptability makes them ideal for startups whose rapid growth demands additional resources reasonably quickly.
As startups count on innovation to grow their business, they need access to the best talent and ecosystem. Such talent and favourable environment are found in abundance in coworking spaces.
Once the Lockdown is Lifted
Once the lockdown is lifted and normalcy returns, many startups will have to examine how they will work. They should pay serious consideration to renting an office in a coworking space because such an office is virtually immune to the impact of a pandemic induced lockdown. The current lockdown is not the last; there will be others in the future. Startups have to take this fact into account- in the future their business may be adversely affected by lockdowns.
Importantly, COVID-19- in addition to costing precious lives is creating behavioural changes that will have a lasting effect. Social distancing measures will likely be followed for months.
Visitors will be wary of entering buildings where adequate safeguards against pathogens are not in place. So, a start-up’s client may feel anxious about entering premises where measures to prevent the transfer of deadly virus are absent.
Every coworking space is mindful of the threat posed by airborne viruses. It has taken steps to ensure the safety of those working inside is not compromised because Co-Working spaces are home to many start-Ups and SMEs. These companies are connected globally and are more vigilant. The same cannot be said of traditional offices; they have no measures in place to combat the spread of pathogens. Visitors will expect that their and everyone else’s hands be sanitised before entering a building. Coworking spaces are likely to keep such measures in place for a long time. Regular offices don’t have the resources or knowhow to do the same.
A distinct advantage of leasing offices in coworking spaces is that such facilities have zero downtime. For instance, when the lockdowns is lifted, it will take several days for traditional businesses to get up to speed. Startups operating from traditional offices will take some time to reach the same level of efficiency they had before the lockdown. They may need to re-install infrastructure and procure supplies. On the other hand, startups with offices in coworking spaces will hit the ground running once the lockdown ends because coworking spaces don’t have an off-day. Even during the current lockdown, many are being managed by a minimal staff.
Once the lockdown ends, companies with offices in coworking spaces will rapidly reach the same level of efficiency they had before the COVID-19 pandemic. The same cannot be said of businesses working from traditional offices due to challenges of conventional Real Estate leasing terms.
Authored by Atul Gupta, Founder & CEO, CoFynd
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