Can coworking pick up where commercial leases fail?

Commercial real estate has dropped off during the pandemic as retail operations go out of business and service businesses realize they can work from home. A high number of startups and tech companies have also let leases expire and adopted a remote work/work-from-home model.

For example, executives from SoundCommerce in Seattle rented a U-Haul and delivered each employee’s standup desk, 48-inch monitor, and personal items to that person’s home. Their office lease ends on July 31, and they decided it wasn’t necessary to extend it. Instead, everyone will work from home for the foreseeable future.

“We’re not making any decision for the long term right now,” Eric Best, CEO of SoundCommerce, told CNBC. “We’re thinking about what do we do for the next six to 12 months in terms of maximum safety of the team and maximum flexibility of the company.”

It’s happening all over the country: companies are realizing they don’t need large office spaces anymore. They can have their employees work at home, get cheaper office spaces in the suburbs, or even just get a small space with a couple conference rooms and a few cubicles so people can pop in a couple days a week.

The last few months have shattered the notion that the only way to be effective is to work in the office from 9 to 5. Companies are discovering employees can work from anywhere, anytime. They’re finding they can hire the best employees from around the world, not just the best candidates within driving distance.

What if Employees Don’t Want to Work at Home?

For some people, working from home is a pain. It’s loud, their house is small, or there’s no one to talk to. They want an office environment, they want to go to somewhere. 

We extroverts need to be around people. We charge our batteries by talking with other people, which means the shutdown has been hard on us.

Coworking is a way for extroverted work-from-homers to get their social fix. But it comes with the added benefit of allowing for safe social distancing. They can rent a desk space and work in a controlled environment, getting out of the house and around people.

This means your extroverted employees can spend a couple days a week at the space. The rest of the time, they can work from home. Or if they need to, they can work in the coworking space on a daily basis. And since many coworking spaces offer 24/7 access, they can work during hours that are more convenient for their work schedule.

Coworking Is an Option for Companies Leaving Their Offices Behind

Minimal workspace with open blank screen laptop computer and mock up frame with decorations on white wooden table

The pandemic has shown a lot of companies that they never needed expensive offices in the first place. It’s yet another reason companies like SoundCommerce are leave and never look back. Some companies are saving $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 per month, if not more, just by letting their people work from home. No more rent, no more utilities, no more parking. 

But companies that still want their staff to be together on a semi-regular basis are also turning to coworking spaces.

In most coworking spaces, you can either choose from a dedicated desk or a “hot desk,” which is a first-come-first-served desk. It’s like getting a table in your favorite coffee shop: There’s always a table for you, but it may not be the one you had the day before.

Coworking affordable for entrepreneurs

Coworking is also affordable for entrepreneurs as well as corporations looking to cut back on expenses. Depending on the desk you rent, the coworking space itself, and even the city, you can pay anywhere from $75 for a hot desk in a small town to as much as a few thousand dollars for a private office in a downtown metro area

For example, in Central Florida where we’re located, a hot desk can cost anywhere from $100 to $400/month; a dedicated desk can run $250 – $500; and a private office can be $800 – $2,000.

And if a company wants an arrangement for several employees, some coworking spaces have multi-person suites for small companies or clustered desks for a group of employees. This can let you build small office pods, rather than trying to find space for one large building.

As the occupancy trends for commercial real estate continue to drop, companies have other options besides only working from home. Coworking provides a professional setting where your people can still stay fully connected to the office, whether they are the workspace with their coworkers or work remotely in another part of the world.

To learn more about coworking and how it can help you transform your business, please visit our website at

Erik Deckers is the Director of Marketing for Neoware Studios. He also owns a content marketing agency and has co-authored four books on social media marketing, including Branding Yourself and No Bullshit Social Media. He was the Spring 2016 writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando.