Co-working has been steadily increasing in popularity in recent years, influencing all kinds of businesses across the world, from start-ups to bigger firms. If the current situation is anything to go by, this unconventional way of working shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, the co-working industry can expect some significant changes as the phenomenon continues to grow.
The concept of co-working owes its humble beginnings to new tech start-ups and small firms looking for a temporary place to work until they were in a better position to assess the feasibility of investing in office space of their own. Today, however, co-working spaces have developed into vibrant hubs of commercial activity that are fully equipped with leisure facilities as well as providing ample networking opportunities that aren’t a possibility with regular office space.
Take a look at some of the expect developments we can expect to witness from the industry in the very near future.
No Longer Just for Start-ups
Several bigger and more established companies have inevitably discovered the infinite benefits that come with a co-working space and have consequently decided they want in on the action, too. Co-working spaces like Interchange in London, are now hosting some big brands such as KPMG and Cisco, along with the usual start-ups and smaller firms. Naturally, these firms also have their own established office premises elsewhere, yet they still choose to place certain teams within a reputable co-working space with the intentions of mingling with newer innovative organisations who in turn, are able to forge connections with industry experts, in a way that suits both parties.
The locations of shared office space is no longer being limited to specific tech hubs, such as Silicon Roundabout, for example, thanks to the increase in more start-ups looking for space as well as the development of growing businesses who are already using these spaces. The fluidity and flexibility of companies that specialise in tech has signaled a shift in the way workspaces were previously set up, allowing them to go beyond the confines of a particular city or address.
Owing to the sheer boom in the industry, co-working operators have sprung up everywhere. It’s no longer enough for shared spaces to just set up a desk and WiFi connections; tenants expect more and with good reason. Many spaces are now offering a selection of additional facilities to keep up with growing expectations such as an onsite fitness centre, outdoor grounds, eateries and coffee shops, as well as the possibility to sign up for courses and learn new skills. These “experiential spaces” are taking co-working to a whole new level. One such example is the recently launched Coboat, which offers companies the chance to organise luxurious co-working trips around the Mediterranean on-board a fully decked out catamaran.
From Co-working to Co-living
The concept of co-working is about to get a lot more personal with many considering extending the sense of community fostered through shared spaces to living quarters. The idea is already underway in several major international cities namely, London, Berlin and of course, New York, providing fully equipped facilities that combine residential and office spaces, including communal kitchens and living rooms. It may strike the average Joe as a bit odd, but this living style is actually ideal for people who are focused on their career and travel around a lot.
In an age when we expect to access everything at the tap of a button, co-working on demand is sure to become a thing soon enough. Companies aren’t satisfied with having to endure long waits to secure a co-working space as well as additional lengthy admin procedures. Moreover, many co-working operators are starting to target specific industries to create a more niche offering.
As an industry that has continued to surprise us, it’s inevitable that the co-working phenomenon will carry on changing the way we work, ever moving away from the notion of the traditional office, for years to come.