Co-working is a new territory; currently, there isn’t an enormous amount of legacy research into it as it responds to the needs of the new, and constantly evolving, world of work. If the number of freelances, remote workers, contract workers, entrepreneurs and start-ups weren’t increasing, the number of co-working options wouldn’t be growing.
Deskmag’s annual research into co-working estimates that by the end of this year, there will be approximately nineteen thousand co-working spaces internationally, housing over 1.7 million people. On average, co-working space plans to expand their area by 70% which is two out of three operators. Twenty-nine percent of all co-working spaces opened last year, which indicates co-working is going nowhere; in fact, the chances are that it is going to become even more popular as the way in which people and business continues to change.
A third of those surveyed by Deskmag reported that they would be opening at least one additional location; one in twelve mentioned that they want to open larger spaces. This optimism on the future of co-working is based on estimations that the number of members will grow and that the operators are expecting increased profits. The property price will always play a factor and this needs to be taken into account alongside the costs of development, infrastructure, security, IT and all sorts of other costs.
The research also uncovered the fact that members’ loyalty has increased significantly, especially in proportion to the length of time they’ve been using the space in which they are based. Nevertheless, all co-working operators are constantly on the lookout for new members and this is always a challenge, particularly as choices and competition increases.
Some of the main trends in this year’s report include:
- More co-working spaces, but more niche spaces which will cater to a specific membership and differ significantly from competitors.
- Most have reported an increase of corporates using co-working spaces.
- With increased competition, a certain amount of consolidation will take place.
- Sustainable community building.
- Organizing events for the community using co-work spaces.
By Mari Schourie.