Publications

- May 1, 2020: Vol. 14, Number 5

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Co-working model put to the test by social distancing

by Loretta Clodfelter and Marek Handzel

Flexible office space and short-term office rentals have been a great way for occupiers to manage their office usage, and for landlords to attract such tenants. But the question hanging over the sector has always been: How will it hold up in a crisis?

We will soon know. The co-working sector is going to be put to the test like never before in the current pandemic. With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease, companies around the world are instituting work-from-home processes, either voluntarily or through government mandate. For firms with a 10-year lease on their office space, an interruption of weeks or months is unlikely to cause any rethinking of their space usage. But the tenants of flexible office space may have a different calculation to make. Why keep paying a month-to-month lease? Especially during a period of economic upheaval and uncertainty.

It is in this climate of uncertainty that SoftBank Group Corp. sent a notice to WeWork shareholders on 17 Marc

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