This blog has slowed to a crawl this year.
The pandemic has been a brutal blow to the global economy, and no sector has been hit any harder than coworking. A coworking space has only one business, bringing workers together in a face-to-face community. And that’s the one thing that just isn’t safe to do.
In addition, the customers of coworking spaces, freelancers and independent workers, have been pounded by the shutdown. And, worse, these independent workers generally work at home part of the time, so they are positions to WAH 100% if needed. So the customers of coworking spaces are uniquely prepared to forgo the service for extended periods.
Coworking spaces have closed, and many will never reopen.
All this means that my book, “What is Coworking?” (2018)  is pretty thoroughly obsolete.
“What is Coworking?” It’s over, is what it is.
Over the year I have started to consider a new question, “What Will Coworking Become?”
Here are some of my current thoughts.
My own view is that coworking will come back, and probably be more popular than ever. Possibly not the same spaces and communities, but coworking will spring back up.
Why will it be more popular?
First, if there is one thing the pandemic has achieved, it has given almost everybody experience of remote work, and working from home in particular.
And, frankly, we’re tired of it. Many of us hate it.
Second, one of the things we hate the worst about the pandemic is isolation. Until we can all get vaccinated, our only defense has been staying away from other people.
This is not natural, and we all have learned the hard way that, this really sucks.
So, it is easy to predict that as we get through to the other side, we will be, we already are eager, desperate even, to be together with other people.
This, my friends, is what coworking spaces do, and what they are for.
So, I’m suggesting that there will be a deep, deep desire for in person community, and people will flock to coworking spaces. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if people join coworking spaces even if they have another workplace—just to have a place to hang out.
Obviously, the second edition of “What is Coworking?” will have a lot to cover! : – )
Take care of each other.
- Robert E. McGrath, What is Coworking? A look at the multifaceted places where the gig economy happens and workers are happy to find community. 2018, Robert E. McGrath: Urbana. https://whatiscoworkingthebook.com/