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European Narratives on Remote Working and Coworking During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A Multidisciplinary Perspective

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About this book

This open access book offers a multidisciplinary and comprehensive perspective regarding the immediate and long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on coworking spaces in the European Region. The current pandemic has imposed several effects on work and spaces for work. Some are immediate effects and will last for a short time (such as the closing down of the space), some will last longer (namely, the reorganisation of the space to meet the physical distancing), and some will stay for a long time (remote working and hybrid working). Although the literature on coworking spaces and the effects of the pandemic is growing fast, empirical studies are yet limited. Within this context, this book seeks a twofold aim: (i) to contribute to the fast-growing literature on coworking space and their effects at different scales; (ii) to present a multidisciplinary perspective about the effects of the yet-lasting Corona-pandemic effects on the patterns of remote working and consequently on coworking spaces, as the most diffused form of new working spaces.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Open Access

Introduction to the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Coworking
Abstract
The current chapter introduces in detail the aims and structure of the book ‘European Narratives on Remote Working and Coworking during the COVID-19 Pandemic’. This introductory chapter depicts the importance of studying the phenomenon of coworking spaces (CSs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The literature on new working spaces, particularly CSs, is growing fast in various disciplines. During the past three years of the pandemic, some scholars have attempted to explore the short- and long-term effects on ways and spaces of working. This book is the first attempt to collect country-specific empirical studies from 12 European countries.
Mina Akhavan, Marco Hölzel, Divya Leducq

Open Access

Remote Working and New Working Spaces During the COVID-19 Pandemic—Insights from EU and Abroad
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rise of remote working worldwide and less central areas have become more and more attractive for these workers. Consequently, remote workers started working from home, in new working spaces, and from everywhere. These changes have affected workers’ wellbeing, and cities, peripheral are rural areas. The chapter explores why people decided to keep working remotely even after the pandemic restrictions were cancelled. Furthermore, we give an empirical snapshot of the actual situation of remote workers and how this has and will change geographical patterns. The impact of remote working on wellbeing is described, according to the literature, and some thoughts on how remote working affects the future of coworking spaces and hybrid spaces are presented.
Aleid Elizabeth Brouwer, Ilaria Mariotti

Narrations of the Countries in Northern and Western Europe

Frontmatter

Open Access

Acceleration of Remote Work and Coworking Practices in Estonia During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Abstract
Estonia is a country with a small economy and a high level of digitalization that was more ready for remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic than many other countries. This paper shows how a small and flexible society with its institutions reacted to turbulent times and what developments it has brought along. We use data from Statistics Estonia and other public sources, as well as previous qualitative studies on coworking spaces in Estonia. We conclude that employees’ preferences towards hybridity and remote practices and the readiness of employers to meet them, supported by the high pre-pandemic level of digitalization and developed ICT sector, could improve the revitalization of rural and deprived regions and reduce the socioeconomic disparities across Estonia.
Kaire Piirsalu-Kivihall, Anastasia Sinitsyna, Luca Alfieri, Tiiu Paas

Open Access

Narratives on COVID-19 Effects on Coworking Spaces in France: A Winning Ticket for the Peripheries?
Abstract
France, like other European countries, has not been spared the COVID-19 crisis, but this pandemic, unknown in the twenty-first century, has highlighted and served as a sounding board for many other issues, both in society and in the materiality of contemporary cities. A new territorial narrative has emerged around the following question: can coworking spaces, and more generally third workplaces, meet the needs of a French society that is looking for planning solutions in the face of successive emergencies, in favour of better territorial equality and individual well-being? To assess the growth of coworking in France and its territorial impact—real, potential, or symbolic—the authors refer to their own research in the Centre-Loire Valley region and to specialized literature on economics and regional planning.
Divya Leducq, Christophe Demazière

Open Access

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Remote Working and Coworking Spaces in Germany—Narrative Literature Analyses
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hit the whole German society and with that the way of working as well as the trend of coworking, as it happened similarly in other western societies. With information about governmental measurements, the world of work, mobility and transportation, people’s behavior, companies’ strategies, the real estate market, and changes in new working spaces from different sources this article creates a narration of immediate impacts, medium-term and long-run effects. Finally, this article aims to draw potential coming changes and further trends for coworking spaces.
Marco Hölzel, Thomas Vogl

Open Access

Working (and Living) During Corona Times and Implications for Planning and Mobility—The Case of Norway
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has relatively affected the Norwegian context and other Nordic countries (except for Sweden), considering the prudential authorities and policies adopted during the various waves of the virus. The capacity for remote working and high flexibility of working (already observed before the pandemic) have contributed to adapt to the changes. In this context, the study aims to explore the ways of working and living during the Corona Times and the implications for planning and mobility in Norway, considering the short-medium and long-term effects of the pandemic. First, the study presents an overview of the main impacts of the pandemic in the Nordic countries (such as mortality, labour market and absence from work, including the closure of workplaces), and second, it focuses on Norway, in light of the national measures. Then, the working related trends (for example, growth of demand of new working spaces and the increased number of workers in the public libraries) are discussed, as well as the major implications for our cities, such as new housing demands, commuting habits and transportation modes. Finally, an overview of the current debate within the Norwegian society shows the high interests of planners, other experts, and media in understanding the future of work, such as hybrid forms, new jobs, working remotely (but from where?).
Mina Di Marino, Seyed Hossein Chavoshi

Open Access

Not Going Back to the Office any Time Soon: Coworking Spaces in The Netherlands
Abstract
In the Netherlands traditionally many employees often did not work not at the office. The Dutch workforce was a large user of third spaces, especially in libraries and coffee bars and in coworking spaces. This meant that for most Dutch workers the switch to working from home during the pandemic was less substantial than in some other countries. These third spaces did suffer from the loss of working clientele during the pandemic and some (non)commercial third spaces had to close. Dutch coworking spaces are mostly found in densely populated areas and are either located in the inner city or at industrial sites.
Martijn Smit, Veronique Schutjens, Aleid Brouwer

Narrations of the Countries in Eastern Europe

Frontmatter

Open Access

The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Coworking Spaces in Poland
Abstract
The chapter deals with the changes occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic in the coworking sector. We have collected data and information from primary and secondary sources. The latter include in-depth interviews, covert participant observations and computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI). We analysed the changes of the number of coworking spaces (CSs) and main mechanisms behind them. The findings reveal the relatively limited scale of decrease in the number of coworking spaces and illustrate how the pandemic outbreak influenced the effects of CS operations, especially on the real estate market. It is argued that independently-run CSs suffered the most, whereas corporate CSs with a stable core of corporate clients, central location and limited competition have been more resilient. With regard to the changes generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the most significant transformations are seen in the decreasing number of non-virtual events organised by CSs, whereas the scale of the other impacts of CSs on the local milieu decreased slightly.
Grzegorz Micek, Karolina Małochleb, Katarzyna Wojnar, Maciej Smętkowski

Open Access

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Influence on Coworking Spaces in Slovakia: West–East Division
Abstract
Operation of the coworking spaces (CSs) all over the world was strongly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including those in Slovakia. The capital city’s CSs and coworking spaces localised in non-metropolitan eastern part confirmed decline in co-worker presence that have also influenced financial aspect of the coworking spaces stability and resilience. Even though there have been several possibilities of national and local grants from public authorities, this support was not widely used and no CSs decided to contact the owners of premises in order to get rent deferrals and/or rent discounts. The pandemic also caused switch of physical events into online activities and activate those spaces located in the eastern part of the country as the number of the events in these spaces overall increased. Even the community spirit inside the CSs transformed to community events decreased due to the adaptation of government measures, cooperation outside individual CSs have strengthen and lead to establishing of formalised coworking association in Slovakia. In spite of the difficult situation the CSs have to face, many of them realised the need of adaptation and invested in ICT devices, change of already not sufficient marketing strategies but also see business opportunities as several new coworking spaces have started to operate. All these aspects point at the fact that flexible work arrangement coworking spaces offer could help to solve global economic crisis.
Eva Belvončíková, Lukáš Danko, Oliver Rafaj

Open Access

The Booming Growth of Coworking Spaces During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Turkey
Abstract
The rise of teleworking and coworking has been remarkable in Turkey, especially in the last decade. Nevertheless, the country has experienced a boom in coworking spaces (CSs) during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the number of CSs has increased dramatically from 71 in 2020 to 162 in 2022; therefore, the increase is more than doubled. This chapter investigates the reasons behind this dramatic increase, the rising demand for CSs, and the response of CSs to the implications of COVID-19. The narratives in this chapter highlight the changing demands of coworkers, the challenges that CSs face, and new coworking concepts that have emerged.
Tüzin Baycan, Meltem Parlak Mavitan, Gülfiye Özcan Alp

Open Access

Coworking Places in Hungary During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Abstract
A global pandemic affected the type and place of work in several ways. For coworking places it caused disruptions according to direct (e.g. measures) and indirect (e.g. urban outmigration) reasons. The present chapter focuses on how coworking places in Hungary choose different adaptation strategies to deal with the unprecedented challenge that COVID-19 accounted for. It gives insight into the Hungarian pandemic situation between 2020 and 2022, identifying restrictions and no state financial aid whatsoever which determined the playing field for coworking places. The chapter contains different sections related to the outbreak and the Hungarian coworking landscape as well as coping strategies these alternative workspaces relied on to survive the first two years of the pandemic: location change, size reduction, change of function, and relying on informal networks are the identified ones.
Dóra Bálint, Réka Horeczki, Judit Kalman, Gabor Lux

Narrations of the Countries in Southern Europe

Frontmatter

Open Access

Italian Experiences in Coworking Spaces During the Pandemic
Abstract
The chapter presents and discusses the results of two surveys addressed to coworking spaces managers in Italy, during the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The strategies coworking spaces have adopted to cope with the pandemic are described, and the determinants of the coworking resilience level (e.g., size, ownership, sector specialisation, hybridization) are presented. It is explored how the coworking spaces managers have kept the community alive and the perception of the interviewees about the future in the two years. The results of the survey in 2021 show that the average level of profitability and confidence in coworking performance returned to the pre-pandemic level. The pandemic has underlined a potential key role of CSs in enhancing work-life balance and promoting the socio-economic development of peripheral and rural areas. Besides, during the pandemic, Southern Italy has attracted remote workers (e.g., “southworkers”), and promoted the so-called ‘community garrisons’, willing to host them and ‘retain’ young people.
Ilaria Mariotti, Michele Lo Russo

Open Access

The Impact and Complex Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Working Environment and the Use of Coworking Spaces in Malta
Abstract
Coworking spaces in Malta have grown in their presence and use only within the last decade, yet the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered the cultural working office norms of Maltese society. Indeed, this chapter, using in-depth interviews with different groups of people, that is, co-worker owners, employees, traditional employers and members of an employment association, aims to explore how the pandemic may be impacting the coworking industry in complex ways. From the narratives, it emerged that the soft lockdown measures related to the pandemic had caused immediate negative effects due to the fear of contagion on the use of coworking spaces in Malta and the limitations related to social distances in workspaces. However, the pandemic itself may have created a shift within the Maltese context where the idea of remote working is perceived as beneficial and may become more popular. The pandemic may have contributed to the revision of the Maltese employers’ priorities, such as the importance of owning or renting a permanent office space or giving permission to employees to work from home or renting a coworking space for socialisation at work. Therefore, the pandemic may have caused damaging short-term effects to the coworking industry in Malta yet possibly beneficial long-term effects.
Bernadine Satariano, Thérèse Bajada

Open Access

Dynamics of Change at Work and Reactions of Coworking Spaces in the Aftermath of the Pandemic: Notes on Portugal
Abstract
New workspaces, such as coworking spaces (CSs), have had exponential growth in Portugal in recent years, both in number and variety. Lockdowns and other restrictive measures on mobility, employment and business activity during the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly impacted all sectors, albeit differently. This chapter summarises the central events related to the pandemic crisis in Portugal, reflecting on the impacts observed and highlighting the main legislative measures adopted by the government and the subsequent increasing expressiveness of telework. Therefore, in addition to the gradual transformation of work, CSs have gained a growing space in the media and on the political agenda. Based on ongoing research, this article aims to provide a brief overview of the pandemic effects on Portuguese coworking reality and related issues, pointing out insights for the future.
Elisabete Tomaz, Maria Gato, Gislene Haubrich

Open Access

Concluding Remarks: European Narratives About the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Coworking
Abstract
This book is a collection of narrations about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic from different countries collected within the Workgroup 2ATLAS of the COST action CA18214 ‘The Geography of New Working Spaces and the Impact on the Periphery’. This conclusive chapter comprehends the previous chapters and offers a comparative view regarding the effects on Coworking Spaces (CS), Governmental Measurements to curb the Pandemic, Effects on Work, Remote/Telework Work, Working-From-Home (WFH), Effects on Commuting, Transportation Mods and Services, Effects on the Housing, Place of Residence, Office and Real Estate Market, Effects on Tourism, Effects on Urban Planning. The final section of this chapter draws attention to the direct and indirect effects of coworking spaces. Direct effects on individuals and indirect effects as living-, work- and build-environment, taking into account space and economy, environment (energy) and urban planning. This book contributes to a fast-growing amount of literature on new working spaces, especially coworking spaces. Further empirical studies should be conducted to create evidence as a solid foundation for policies at the EU, national and subnational levels.
Marco Hölzel, Mina Akhavan, Divya Leducq
Metadata
Title
European Narratives on Remote Working and Coworking During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Editors
Mina Akhavan
Marco Hölzel
Divya Leducq
Copyright Year
2023
Electronic ISBN
978-3-031-26018-6
Print ISBN
978-3-031-26017-9
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-26018-6