Photo: SaksWorksFacebook

Looking for a Coworking Space on Your Next Trip? Try the Nearest Mall.

by Olivia Harden Nov 22, 2021

American malls need a fresh take to compete with online shopping. A 2020 report from Coresight Research estimates that 25 percent of the 1,000 malls in the US will close over the next three to five years, and the pandemic is accelerating this process. That begs the question of what to do with this prime real estate that used to serve as a centerpiece of America’s communities. Some suggestions have included warehouses, churches, medical facilities, apartment complexes, and office space. But it could be a trend made increasingly popular by the pandemic that helps bring people back into malls — remote work.

saksworks coworking space in a mall

Photo: SaksWorksFacebook

The pandemic has companies from tech startups to established corporate powerhouses reconsidering the need for vast amounts of office space. But not everyone wants to work from home, without the social interactions and opportunities for networking (and of course, griping about work) that an office provides. Enter the coworking space. Offering office or desk space for lease to remote workers is a growing trend. Statista Research Department reports there are currently over 23,000 co-working spaces in the US, with that number expected to rise to over 41,000 by 2025. As retailers close storefront space in malls, coworking spaces are stepping into certain vacancies to fill the void.

Saks Fifth Avenue and WeWork created a joint-venture called SaksWorks, offering stylish workspace combined social clubs in different Saks locations. In December, five New York-based SaksWorks locations will open, with the trend expected to extend to Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Seattle. As of 2018, 21.3 percent of coworking spaces were located in department stores and similar such large commercial operations, and are found all over the world. You’ll find Cre8 Community & Workspace at PIK Avenue Mall in Jakarta, Indonesia; Bespoke Co-working at Westfield Mall in San Francisco; and Mindshare Workspace at Erin Mill Town Centre in Mississauga, Toronto, Canada.

So the next time you’re on the road and need a quiet space for a Zoom call or desk to hunker down at to push through your to-do list, check in with the local mall. It may just be the perfect workspace you never knew you needed. And, the coffee is on the house.

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