The Coworking Industry Will Not Die Because of the Pandemic
If you’re as involved in the coworking industry as we are, you read all kinds of articles about how coworking and remote work are being affected by the pandemic.
And our eyes are getting tired because of all the eye-rolling we’ve been doing.
“Coworking is going to die because of the pandemic!” shrieks one. “Coworking will thrive because of the pandemic!” crows another.
There’s no middle ground. Either the sky is falling on coworking, or we’re about to be the greatest invention since Otto Rohwedder created the bread slicer.
Spectrum’s NY1 channel told us Co-Working Spaces Suffer as a Result of Virus Outbreak. Nairametrics went full-on scare tactics with Is this Pandemic the death of coworking Spaces? (complete with questionable capitalization).
Our industry website piled on as well: AllWork.space published an article in March, Demand For Coworking Space Suffers In Wake Of COVID-19.
Six months later, the very same AllWork.space said, “Coworking Firms Could Come Out On Top.”
Well, that’s nice. At least we’ve got that going for us.
And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch hedged its bets with Coworking spaces struggle amid pandemic, but see room for long-term growth.
Stop Predicting the Death of the Coworking Industry
Look, it’s trendy to predict the demise of things. Everyone wants to look like a wise sage who can read the tea leaves and tell you when something is going to die. Then you get to sit back smugly and say, “You see? I knew it. I was right.” And predicting the death of a company or an industry is an easy way to get a win.
I remember when people were predicting email was going to die. Podcasts were going to die. Blogging was going to die. Social networks were going to die.
It’s 2020 and those things are all still going strong. I just wish saying things were going to die was going to die.
Still, a stopped clock is right twice a day. But these doomsayers and death-knellers are a clock that’s five minutes slow — they’ll never catch up and they’ll never be right.
For one thing, everything is suffering. Everyone is struggling right now. Restaurants, movie theaters, home construction, art galleries, lawn care services, retail stores, churches, car dealers, massage therapists.
And yes, there are a lot of stories about coworking giants WeWork and Regus filing bankruptcy, and they’re the big public face of coworking, so everyone’s following the popular trend and predicting that this means the end of everything.
But giants always fall hard, and they don’t always affect the rest of the industry. After all, MySpace took a nosedive and social media is. . . well, it’s in the state that it’s in.
So WeWork and Regus may be failing, but the small coworking spaces are still doing fine.
News companies can write scary “Is _________ Dying Because of the Pandemic?” articles all day long, dropping in industries and statistics like ghost story Mad-Libs, but that doesn’t make you a great business prognosticator. It makes you a copycat of a copycat of a copycat of a barnyard animal that thought the world was coming to an end because an acorn fell on her head.
Yes, we’re all suffering. Yes, sales are down. Yes, we’re all trying to find ways to keep our businesses open. And if one business closes down, someone just down the street will have the same idea and they’ll open up the same business, maybe even in the same spot.
But one business does not an industry make.
Just because your favorite coffee shop closed doesn’t mean the coffee shop industry is failing. Just because your favorite nail salon closed doesn’t mean no one will ever get a manicure again.
We believe the coworking industry is going to thrive as a result of the pandemic because the number of remote workers and freelancers is growing rapidly, and they all want a place to sit and get their work done.
We’re committed to the industry and to our tenants and we’re not ready to sound the death knell of coworking just yet, especially not on the say-so of so-called business analysts who like to whip the barnyard into a frenzy after an acorn lands on their tiny heads.