The New Normal Drives Demand for Co-Working Spaces
The substantial threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to Philippine society has compelled the government to impose lockdown restrictions and implement quarantine measures which has led to the modification of social and economic norms that Filipinos have long lived with.
In search of the optimum mix to the complex task of keeping the public safe; providing for the basic needs of the populace; curbing the proliferation of the pandemic; and, sustaining the economy all at the same time, the government has been implementing various health, safety and social protocols and modifying the different levels of quarantine lockdown. And Lobien Realty Group (LRG) anticipates that this will continue to shape how all sectors of Philippine society will behave in the COVID-19 era.
LRG confirms that the work environment has changed and it continues to evolve as businesses try to comply with requisite protocols in the workplace that aims to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and minimize contact rate. LRG has observed that workplaces of today have started to reconfigure workspace to lessen close contact between employees. Skeletal workforce is also being practiced where 50% of the employees are working from their homes. Companies are also ensuring that cleanliness is maintained in workstations and that employees’ body temperatures are being monitored and recorded.
Communal eating is now also being discouraged and meetings are now being done online via ZOOM, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.
LRG believes that the community lockdown brought fear and anxiety to many individuals, especially to employees who continuously report to work despite the threat of the virus. To help their workers cope with this challenge, employers are seen to prioritize the health and well-being of their staff even after the pandemic. Employers will continue to promote a healthy lifestyle and ensure that the government protocols and safety measures are being implemented.
LRG envisages that one of the growing trends of the new normal are co-working spaces. Startup companies, freelancers, entrepreneurs and digital nomads, and remote teams drive demand for co-working spaces. Many companies are looking to split operations as they allow their employees more flexible arrangements like work from home or reduced work days. Another reason is that some companies are also likely to occupy smaller spaces and opt to commit to short-term leases.
As of August 2020, there are 9,554 desks/seats available in co-working spaces, occupying a total of 350,000 square meters. Co-working facilities such as Work Studios located at the mezzanine floor of the Infinity Tower in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City are becoming popular for both small and big occupiers because most are situated in prime locations in competitive areas. Work Studios and other structures like it have also grown in demand as they offer instant offices that are aligned with the changing tech and business environment.
When the pandemic began, Work Studios and other co-working spaces were among the first to implement COVID-19 safety measures and protocols mainly because the innate flexibility of these establishments allows for quick introductions of physical or policy changes that benefit their lessees.
Work Studios boasts of 146 seats- with 96 private workstations, 20 dedicated desks, and 30 hot desks. They have 3 shared meeting rooms, breakout areas, and lounge areas. And just like other premium co-working establishments, it also offers members the latest in modern information technology, security, and safety.
LRG avers that it should be the priority of every business to provide a safe and healthy work environment for their people who risk their lives every time they go to work. And LRG emphasizes that the real estate industry should be able to aggressively take on this lead for their spaces under the “new normal”.