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Employers exploring co-working spaces as post-pandemic office solution

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Posted at 3:03 PM, Sep 17, 2021

For many, the return to the office has been bumpy, with the rise of the delta variant causing many large companies to hold off on bringing back employees.

An estimated 42% of Americans are continuing to work remotely, according to Flex Jobs. But some companies are finding collaboration and a hybrid schedule is best, and are now investing in smaller public spaces.

One of those companies taking advantage of the new trend is Upflex. They've created the "Safe Spaces" program, a worldwide co-working network.

"It's (being) able to pick and choose a co-working space that's closer to your home," said Christophe Garnier, the CEO of Upflex. "That allows you to get out of the home, but yet not have to commute all the way to the office, which sometimes can be very long."

According to one industry estimate, the number of co-working spaces is expected to double over the next two years from around 20,000 to more than 40,000.

Garnier says co-working was already on the rise pre-pandemic in an effort to improve work-life balance.

"Giving the choice to the employee and not forcing them into going into the office, not forcing them into staying at home, then, giving them the choice to do what they feel like on any given day," he said.

Safe Spaces hired an epidemiologist to help create protocols to reduce the chances of COVID-19 spreading in public work environments.

Garnier says businesses, especially startups, like the idea of co-working because it's less of a commitment to real estate than traditional long-term office leases.

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