Coworking is growing fast and is turning out to be an investable business because of the success of global players like WeWork which is expanding exponentially in all major cities. Startups have been the first to embrace coworking but large corporations are also moving towards it. As per GCUC (Global Coworking Unconference Conference) which is the largest coworking conference in the world, there will be 5 million people who will be coworking in 2022 from 1 million currently in 2018. Coworker, the global coworking directory already lists 9000+ coworking spaces in 158 countries.
Future of Coworking: Global vs local chains?
While coworking chains like WeWork and Regus have the highest market share, local chains are also gaining traction. WeWork definitely has the first-mover advantage in this market and huge investments each year which makes it grow continuously. We feel that no other global coworking chain looks like it can get anywhere close to the growth of WeWork.
However, many local chains are sprouting up in all major startup hubs. While small, there are many of these chains that often offer cheaper coworking spaces than WeWork. Additionally, local chains are opening in even the smaller cities that global players have not yet entered into. This makes it possible that gradually there may be more local coworking spaces than global players in most startup hubs. Here is how local coworking chains compare to WeWork.
Some other interesting coworking trends
Increasing number of freelancers, startups entrepreneurs and digital nomads
As startup ecosystems grow globally, more coworking chains are opening to support their needs. More people are choosing careers out of traditional corporate jobs and are becoming freelancers, entrepreneurs and digital nomads. Around 40% of the workforce will be composed of freelancers, temps, independent contractors and solopreneurs by 2020. And there will be 1 billion digital nomads by 2035.
Millennials that compose a huge chunk of this group, value autonomy to work as per their liking and are choosing professions where they are their own bosses. Digital nomads are continuously on the move and prefer working out of different locations as per wherever they are globally. This huge group of people values working in unconventional and highly social environments and coworking chains offer the perfect solutions. Indirectly, coworking chains are creating this “new type of talent pool” that prefers autonomy, creativity and socialization to find business solutions.
Corporates taking up coworking
As a mix of the 2 factors listed above, corporates are understanding the value of coworking and are moving from traditional work environments to relaxed coworking spaces. Big names like Google, Microsoft, Verizon, Intel are opting to choose coworking spaces to encourage creativity and innovation. They are also wanting to tap into the new talent pool mentioned in the first point. They are aware of the benefits that coworking offers in terms of creating beneficial connections and networks.
Another reason for corporations selecting coworking chains is because most of them are transitioning into asset-light models and have realized the need of not owning office spaces office furniture, equipments, etc. Most coworking chains are cost saving for large corporations since many aspects of day-to-day operations are handled by these coworking chains. Opting for a coworking also allows for rapid expansion for these corporations as they don’t have to invest time and resources in setting up a new office.
As we getting isolated in our own lives, urban loneliness is increasing and loneliness can affect mental health. UK now has a Minister of Loneliness. People are recognizing that we are social creatures and working in silos is depressing. People like having people around them without necessarily working with them. This is especially true for freelancers, entrepreneurs and digital nomads who work a lot remotely and end up missing human interaction. Luckily, coworking offers community living. Most coworkers socialize even outside coworking spaces and form long term bonds with coworkers. The social aspects of coworking is a very big reason that millennials are attracted to it.
Niche specific coworking chains
Another reason for their rising popularity is that many coworking chains are now offering niche specific coworking spaces. Example, there are now coworking chains specifically for artists, creative freelancers, designers, hardware startup entrepreneurs, architects, lawyers, musicians, writers, etc. There were no avenues for this before but smaller local niche specific chains are now opening up and providing workspaces to an audience that chose to work from home or expensive labs or studios. Niche specific coworkings chains will be the future of coworking where members from a specific field will work together to provide better outputs.
Giant investing opportunities
With global coworking chains like WeWork becoming successful and providing proof of concept, coworking spaces have become great investment opportunities for businesses. Coworking chains are proving to be investable businesses and global chains like WeWork are expanding exponentially.
Coworking as one stop shop
Coworking chains will soon become places where people will spend time for other activities other than coworking. Many coworking spaces are already offering gyms, yoga studios, creches and nurseries, etc. Many others have already started conducting other socialization events like wine and cheese tastings, baking workshops and more. We predict that this trend will continue and coworking spaces will become one stop shops offering much more than coworking. Another example is WeLive which is offered by WeWork and caters to living spaces.
With so much going on in the coworking space, and with ever growing startup ecosystems globally, coworking will be a trend that will increase in future. Coworking chains have shown us a way of working that resonates with a large portion of the workforce.
To explore a coworking space in your city, check Coworker, a coworking space directory that lists out 9000+ coworking spaces with friendly communities in 160 countries. You can check coworking spaces with even additional specifications like being female focused, with or without co-living facilities, locational preferences like near the beach or near rural escapes, etc.