Flexible workspaces are reporting a surge in demand as large companies look to complement their existing offices in order to comply with social distancing requirements.
As workers return to offices, Covid-19 health requirements mean the sharing of desks is no longer feasible and spacing means companies may no longer have the necessary capacity to accommodate their staff.
Republic of Work which rents desks and office space on Cork's South Mall told the Irish Examiner they have seen a 25% increase in urgent requests for office arrangements as larger companies seek out alternatives for their workforce.
Dan Kiely the former CEO and co-founder of VoxPro and a backer of the Republic of Work said the coronavirus will have a long-lasting impact on the office environment. "The world of work has undergone a dramatic and forced change in recent months, and it has become clear that the business community will have to live alongside Covid-19 for the foreseeable future," he said.
In Spain, the country's largest property firm Merlin Properties has begun offering customers the chance to rent office space by the hour as it bets tenants will seek greater flexibility in their working arrangements as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Startup companies not willing to commit to long-term leases and larger firms requiring overflow accommodation resulted in a surge in demand in recent years for flexible workspaces prior to the pandemic.
Republic of Work CEO DC Cahalane said the pandemic has only increased the pace. "The companies we are getting inquiries from have no shortage of space of their own, but they need to respond to the needs of employees who might not wish to travel as much as they used or may not have the home facilities for extended work at home," he said.
"They may need to operate as small teams but cannot do so safely using their existing infrastructure. Our original model was based on a split of 80:20 in favour of permanent occupants versus the hot desk model. We expect our new business to work 80:20 in favour of the more flexible offering, and even when the pandemic comes to an end, that change may become permanent."