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Coworks: Flexible Space is the Future of Work


DeShawn Brown is so convinced that flexible work space is the wave of the future, he designed a software management system for remote work-space providers.

“Remote work capability is becoming a must have for employers,” he told attendees at Future of Work Expo in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Brown is CEO at Coworks, a firm that offers software for managing flexible work spaces. His company itself is headquartered in a flexible work building that uses his software.

In “The Future is Flexible: How the Remote Work Shift Changes Everything,” Brown offered his perspective on the move to remote work that was fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. The upshot: Nobody wanted to come back to work as the pandemic eased.

  • 52% of workers considered quitting their current job for a remote job
  • 33% of workers say they’ll leave if remote options aren’t available.

Brown listed four ways companies can benefit from adopting a tech-enabled flexible work strategy, including:

  1. Using technology to rethink corporate headquarters arrangements;
  2. Leveraging flexible workspace to develop a complete work ecosystem;
  3. Enabling on-demand space discovery to improve corporate flexibility;
  4. Employing data analytics to provide you with space usage information.

“It starts with tech because that’s the key underlying that lets you experience all these other things,” Brown said.

He noted there are hundreds of different tools available to flex-space owners. What’s really needed is a centralized platform that acts as an operating system for both the building and its clients. For instance, Brown’s program includes:

  • Analytics and reports
  • Employer/tenant applications
  • Events notices
  • Billing services
  • Announcements.

Remote work from home has its drawbacks, though. Not everyone has space to work from home.

“There’s a physical component here,” Brown noted.

Among the most common complaints heard from people who work at home are

  • Feeling lonely (21%)
  • Needing collaboration (21%)
  • Suffering distractions (16%)
  • Lacking motivations (14%)
  • Bothered by time zones (14%).

Somewhere between work-from-home and office work lies flexible work space. Most arrangements are subscription-based, month-to-month deals that include shared amenities and available community space.

“The focus is more on hospitality,” Brown says, “The other thing is community.”

Larger companies haven’t invaded the co-workings space as owners – yet. Brown said 85% of available coworking office space is maintained by independent operators.

The forecast is that, by the end of the decade, one-third of occupied office space will feature flexible work arrangements, Brown said.

The government has given official notice that flexible work arrangements are here to stay. The General Services Administration (GSA), which helps manage and service government agencies, issued in September 202 a $50 million contract to provide Federal employees with flexible workspace.

Edited by Erik Linask
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