Our Thoughts on the Global Coworking Industry
Until the last decade, the idea of a coworking industry would not have made much sense. After all, white-collar employees went to work in offices every day where they shared space with others, often their literal coworkers. The recent widespread adoption of concepts like remote work, hybrid teams, and flexible scheduling has changed all that.
A lot of people assume that the coronavirus pandemic was at the root of the switch to remote work. In fact, coworking had been solidifying itself as a preferred workspace solution before COVID-19 rearranged so much of people’s lives. The pandemic-induced restrictions set some coworking spaces back briefly, but now the trend is back on the rise, and white-collar workers across the world are better off as a result.
What Is Coworking, Exactly?
Before delving into how coworking is reshaping people’s work lives, let’s get down to a basic definition. Coworking is the use of a shared work environment by self-employed individuals, remote workers, and entrepreneurs, but in practice, it’s much more than that. Coworking spaces offer a place for people with different backgrounds and skill sets to get together and share not just office work space, but also knowledge and ideas.
There’s Something Special About Coworking
When the coworking industry first started more than a dozen years ago, traditional office managers and business owners largely assumed that it was just a trend. Now, it’s clear that’s not the case. It turns out that people thrive in coworking spaces on a level that can’t be matched at even the most accommodating and forward-thinking of traditional offices.
Reports show that coworkers have dramatically improved productivity and job satisfaction rates, with research showing levels of thriving that reach an average of six on a seven-point scale, which is more than a point higher than the average office worker.
Coworking Spaces Increase Connection
It should be obvious how coworking spaces can offer an increased sense of connection to remote workers who would otherwise be performing their jobs from home. What’s more interesting is that people who use coworking spaces typically report greater feelings of connection than traditional office workers, as well.
Researchers from Harvard attribute this sense of connection to a combination of factors. In coworking spaces, members don’t have to worry about direct competition from peers, internal politics, or adopting a work persona. They can connect with others from diverse backgrounds to offer and receive help and participate in a vibrant community, making it easier for everyone to feel less isolated.
Coworking spaces also offer workers from the same or similar industries a chance to network with others and form crucial connections. While work-from-home employees only meet people online and traditional office workers interact exclusively with their teams, coworkers have the chance to form lasting relationships with others in their community and meet new people all the time.
Coworking Offers a Perfect Mix of Flexibility and Structure
Modern coworking spaces have something to offer to just about any kind of worker. Whether members are full-time freelancers just looking for drop-in spaces or full-time remote workers looking for private offices, there’s a solution for everyone. These more flexible arrangements mean that members only need to pay for the space they need, whether that’s by-the-minute, hour, day, week, month or year.
Somewhat ironically, while coworking offers added flexibility when compared to traditional offices, it can also create a sense of structure for freelancers and remote workers. Commuting to a shared office space at a certain time each day makes it much easier to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Instead of working long past quitting time and checking emails while drinking that cup of morning coffee, people who use coworking spaces can leave their work outside the home.
Access to Both Shared and Private Spaces Enhances Productivity
It would be a mistake to assume that coworking spaces are just offices for people from different companies. In fact, the right coworking space will have far more to offer than private desks and meeting rooms. Members will be able to access private spaces when they need to concentrate, conference rooms for meetings, and shared spaces for socializing.
The blend of different environments found in coworking spaces doesn’t just cater to each member’s unique working style. Modern cafes provide coffee and snacks to anyone feeling the afternoon slump and every private office, meeting room, and shared space is designed to keep people feeling refreshed and energized throughout the day. Plus, all members can benefit from the built-in amenities associated with coworking spaces, from WiFi and printing services to cleaning and front-desk staff.
The Global Coworking Industry Is Picking Up Steam
As of 2021, there were over 35,000 coworking spaces worldwide. The global market value of these flexible workspaces has already reached approximately $26 billion, and experts predict that this new industry will continue to grow and thrive.
Coworking was already making waves before the pandemic hit. Now, what was once an increasingly popular trend has become a mainstream solution for office workers across the world.
Companies that have adopted remote or hybrid work models compile entire teams online, many of whom sign on from different coworking spaces. Freelancers make essential industry connections, create friendships, and find new clients through fellow members. Entrepreneurs find investors and collaborators. Everyone has something to gain, from business owners to independent contractors.
Coworking Is the New Normal
With the share of the flexible office market continuing to grow year on year, not just in the United States but across the globe, it’s clear that coworking is a concept that’s here to stay. Almost a quarter of corporate workers already utilize coworking spaces at least once a week and more people are joining coworking spaces every day.
Just a decade ago, the future of coworking was completely up in the air. Now, many experts believe that this more flexible approach to work and office use will become the new normal not just for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and other self-employed people but for traditional office workers, as well. Now is the time to take advantage of this growing trend by joining the SUCCESS Space franchise network. Reach out today to find out how to get started.