Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the German coworking industry has grown rapidly as one of the fastest-growing coworking markets globally. The pandemic, however, has brought the industry to an abrupt halt. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to explore the impact the pandemic has had so far on German coworking spaces.
Using an online questionnaire, quantitative data from 38 coworking space owners, operators and employees of a total of 77 spaces in Germany has been collected regarding their situation before, during and after the peak of the first wave of the pandemic from Spring until Summer 2020. The data has been analyzed using descriptive statistics.
The reported income losses significantly outweigh a decrease in costs of the spaces. Nevertheless, the member base seems rather unaffected, and coworking spaces are exploring adaptations to their businesses with a strong shift to the digital environment. Fear of re-imposed governmental restrictions is evident, as well as justified with a looming second infection wave.
Due to the sample size, the data may lack generalizability. Therefore, recommendations for future research are provided.
Data on the impact of the pandemic on coworking spaces is scarce. This paper provides a first necessary overview for the industry as well as the academic field to allow for action to be taken.
The author would like to thank Carsten Foertsch for leading the questionnaire development, as well as Johanna Voll and Dina Sierralta for their efforts in promoting the survey. The author is also grateful to the journal editorial team, the guest editor, Dr Marko Orel, and the two anonymous reviewers for their time to review this paper and provide constructive feedback.
This work was supported by the Internal Grant Agency of the Faculty of Business Administration, Prague University of Economics and Business, under no. IGS F3/33/2020.
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