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How can the real estate react to the Covid-19 pandemic? From coworkings to flexible spaces

Social distancing and the lasting of the lockdown have had a burdening impact on most businesses, not only on the life and working situation of citizens: many companies are facing the uncertainty of their own future. To cope with the epidemic and to respond to safety regulations, more and more companies are looking to flexible models, which involve reshaping spaces, production, offering, and almost every face of the business itself. The smart working revolution has already changed the production process of many companies, also regarding the space that companies need for their employees. Many analysts are forecasting that the number of realities that will decide to give up long-term contracts will be increasing: many workers will continue to smartwork, because it is safer now and because they grew used to it.


Flexibility is the key

This situation is a challenge not only for companies that provide coworking spaces, but for the whole real estate sector, that is likely to experience a contraction in the business flow. Although coworking, like similar cutting edge models, shall also be seen as forerunners in providing successful solutions for the entire sector. The keyword is flexibility, companies are going to resort to that and are going to rely largely on those able to provide it. The last decade of business has taught us that flexibility is achieved by two main factors: smart conducting of business and fast technology adoption. This is where we meet coworkings, with their new business models, and their offering made flexible thanks to cutting edge technology and cloud based services. In these realities, space has already been reinvented, reshaped, designed for responding to a modern, fast changing, working demand. The era of coworking will not end after the pandemic, as they represent a key feature, because they respond to the need of flexibility, and they drive cooperation and collaboration. Their technological assets are going to support the reshaping of spaces according to the flexible paradigm. Companies in shortage or uncertain conditions are going to welcome offering of well furnished, safe spaces for their employees, that are under a mid term contract mode. Thus farsighted landlords and tenants are already designing offerings that respond to such needs. For example intelligent spaces that can be managed according to social distancing, or settings that are easy and convenient to be reshaped for different contracts.

Coworking as a model to react

Coworking have been the most advanced, cutting edge models of real estate, they are therefore the key for reacting to the rapid change we are living. They can free companies from burdening costs of spaces owning, and provide “usable, safe, secure space”. These hybrid structures have reinvented and innovated the concept of spaces through the use of smart systems,like cloud native access control, that allows access to gateways and resources with the smartphone; thus removing the need of a physical reception, or enabling real-time remote control of buildings and resources. All of that solidly enforces social distancing and safety. The emerging new trends related to the use of virtual spaces will become part of our “new normality”, but, at the same time, many of the trends existing before the Covid-19 will be reaffirmed; they will be reinforced, and they will continue by shaping the real estate sector. They will obviously been matched by an increase in outsearching, capital allocations and investments in technological solutions. Moreover, companies will be likely supported by credit programs, developed to alleviate the freezing of credit markets, and to make funds available. These measures are going to help small and medium-sized companies to get back on. All the actions are implemented to reduce the economic damage, even if they cannot completely immunize the economy, they will nevertheless help in balancing the environment. The real estate sector shall be ready to respond with convenient offerings and flexible models, that allow the market to gain a wealthy condition.


The near future and what to do

According to JLL, in the medium long term the demand for flex spaces will continue to be an important feature, the demand for preconfigured flexible spaces will increase, the need for agile portfolios will broaden and physical offices to deliver collaborations will boost. The physical office will always represent a crucial element, because it facilitates interactions, promotes cooperation, and improves employees health and productivity. What is going to change is that this space has to respond to safety needs, and has to be provided under business supportive contracts. Technology is a key factor both for safety and business sustainability. We at Sofia Locks have been designing secure space management solutions for years with our partners and customers. Our cloud-native access control solutions are made with flexibility in mind, this is why we have already been working with the most advanced businesses in the coworking sector (and with all those companies that are looking at the future of business operations). Today we have a specialized team for answering the need of security, flexibility, and fast business growth. In case you are considering reshaping your business to respond to the crisis, we are ready to get in touch and share our experience.