Yes, the Pandemic Could Ultimately Save the Coworking Industry
Dropbox, WeWork, and Google all think they have the playbook for the part-time office
Aside from religion and politics, it’s hard to think of another topic in recent memory that has provoked more fierce debate than the concept of remote work. For years, “future of work” enthusiasts would quibble over how some people are more productive by cutting out commutes and working in a pajama-friendly home office, while others prefer the camaraderie and water-cooler small talk that only a bustling office could provide. Lurking beneath these discussions around worker productivity and engagement was perhaps a bigger underlying issue: the potential dismantling of one of corporate America’s longstanding cultural mainstays—the IRL office. Now, with vaccines in sight, companies are being forced to decide what shape their post-Covid office will take.
Last fall, Dropbox drew its line in the sand when it announced that it would indefinitely become “virtual first,” ushering in the next iteration of the brick-and-mortar office economy. To be clear, Dropbox isn’t abandoning in-person work or switching to a pure work-from-home model. Instead, it’s shifting the default from the office to remote, while setting up Dropbox Studios, where employees can collaborate and hold in-person meetings. Unlike traditional hybrid-remote office models where employees can choose whether or not to go into the office, Dropbox has made it clear that Dropbox Studios is not intended for individual work or hot desking. Its offices will be reserved explicitly for team building and community gatherings. In other words, something more akin to a rented hotel banquet hall — but is theirs 24/7.
How Remote Work Could Destroy Silicon Valley
The tech industry is built on serendipity. If workers flee the Bay Area, what’s left?
It’s not surprising that with so many white-collar workers relocating during the pandemic, companies are trying to negotiate this type of in-between solution. Since the start of the pandemic 124,131 San Francisco residents filed a change-of-address request, often fleeing for more affordable places like Austin…