Coronavirus pandemic threatens fast-growing business model in Denver: Coworking
As businesses and governments urge workers to stay at home to combat the spread of coronavirus, Denver's coworking companies are dealing with the challenges of maintaining their spaces for members while simultaneously seeing significant drops in traffic.
Coworking businesses are increasing sanitation of their spaces, cutting in-office hours for staff, suspending events and moving members into private offices or larger conference rooms to limit instances in which disease can spread...
Unsure of how long the spread of the virus will last, representatives of coworking companies said they're doing their best to keep the business going while keeping clients as safe as possible.
Louisville, Colorado-based Office Evolution, the largest franchisor of coworking spaces in the nation with 68 locations across 24 states, has been busy communicating with franchisees on how best to prepare for the spread of coronavirus. COO William Edmundson told DBJ on March 17 that ... "The situation is so fluid, and it continues to change, literally, by the minute," Edmundson said. "While this is on a very different scale, we've learned there is no substitute for communication..."
Office Evolution locations are typically found in the suburbs and cater to small businesses or "solopreneurs," Edmundson said. He told DBJ that locations saw drops in traffic particularly after schools closed, with declines in usage ranging from an estimated 25% to 70% from center to center.
While traffic at locations has dropped, Edmundson said the company is still signing new members who have found difficulty working from home. At a recent meeting, a general manager who runs Office Evolution's 10 company-owned locations had to excuse herself. When she returned, she announced she had just sold an office package.
Office Evolution has more than 70 locations open, 140 units sold in markets across the country and is poised for further growth as the demand for affordable and safe, workspace close-to-home continues to rise.