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Rented, shared, short-term office spaces gain in popularity during the pandemic

August 25th, 2020 · Leave a Comment

In March, most American companies began to send workers home amid the spread of the Coronavirus, and to this day many office spaces around the country remain vacant.

For those workers who were sent home to continue in their positions, working from home likely has presented its own set of challenges and rewards.

Just off Old St. Augustine Rd. near Baptist South, Michael Wielgus has not-so-average office space that seems to be designed for the times.

“From a growth perspective, [Coronavirus] hasn’t slowed us down,” he said.

Wielgus is a franchise owner of two Office Evolution locations in Jacksonville, both opened within the past two years. The company currently operates 72 locations across the country, and just recently broke into the Florida market.

The concept of the company is pretty simple: anyone from a small business owner to a corporate CEO to a medical student can rent space, for whatever amount of time they need.

Between conference rooms, single offices, shared workspaces and team workspaces, Wielgus said the locations offer more effective space for companies that may not need to rent a large office or multiple floors of a skyscraper.

The idea of the concept is to build locations close to where workers who would normally commute live. Parents can be closer to their children’s schools, companies can cut down on a physical footprint.

Cutting back on office space in the age of Zoom, Skype and Slack can be a quick way for companies to cut costs during a recession, especially when that office space is in pricier, centrally-located buildings.

But while offices stay empty for now, will vacancy in commercial real estate remain permanent? In short, the jury is still out on how permanent work-from-home may be. As companies transition some employees back into the office, many will do so in phases slowly, meaning it will be some time before offices are back to 100 percent capacity.

Wielgus said that once his five Office Evolution locations are built out in the Jacksonville area, he expects to service anywhere from 700 to 1,000 businesses locally.

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