The number of pubs in the UK is on the decline and, given the important role they play, this loss has been felt particularly strongly in rural communities. At the same time the pandemic has prompted a shift towards remote-working and the demand for co-working spaces has increased.

This research explored the potential of using rural pubs for co-working from the perspective of the manager, customer and community. It considered whether offering co-working space may help to reduce the vulnerability of rural pubs and strengthen community-orientated networks, in addition to meeting the needs of post-pandemic ways of working.

The research was funded through NICRE’s Research and Innovation Fund.

Key findings

Pubs already offer workspaces.

Underused multifunctional spaces may lend themselves to a ‘work from the pub’ offer.

Offering workspace is not appropriate for all pubs.

Existing perceptions may need challenging to reframe the pub as a workspace.

Research involving pubs in the current economic climate is challenging.

Pubs need to consider how they can meet the needs of remote workers.

There is a need for further marketing of the ‘work from the pub’ offer, with a targeted marketing pack planned.