Coworking spaces are one area of our increasingly shared way of life that is developing quickly. And like all the others it has been affected significantly by the pandemic with many people downsizing or directly shifting to home-working.
However, with the fluctuations in new cases, and the general situation of our population improving, there are more people looking to go back to share a working space with colleagues or other people and potential new contacts.
In this context, there are some dynamics that are evolving and hopefully changing coworkings for the better.
But First…What if we are not going back to the office?
There is no doubt that one of the major consequences of the past two years is the massive change in how our work is organised. A lot of companies, especially the smaller and more flexible ones are adapting their routines around remote working. Significantly more people than ever before started working from home or at least like to have the option.
Statistics from FindStack highlight how in the US remote working has increased by 159% over the last 12 years.
More interesting data is provided by Forbes, according to which in 2021 already 74% of the surveyed workforce expected remote working to become standard. Up to 97% did not want to go back to full-time office life. And this percentage went down to 61% when asked about whether they would like or not to work remotely full-time. The vast majority, however, looked more than anything else for something in the middle. A hybrid solution.
The main takeaway, in our opinion, is in fact that more than just remote work, flexibility, and different options are the key.
So, while there are even office-to-residential conversions going on in the industry more than before, that might not necessarily be the ideal solution. Especially now that we are gradually regaining more freedom and getting used again to being around people, coworkings that can help professionals thrive are here to stay.
So, now let’s have a look at some trends that could improve coworking spaces.
This time we are not talking just about technology. Tech hardware has been applied more and more in shared and public spaces for a while now. The result however is that very often this becomes outdated very quickly, especially with the speed with which technology develops today.
A lot of systems are automated from access cards to meeting rooms booking, events attendance, services subscriptions, and more. So, what can really make a big difference is actually developing efficient, fast, and intuitive software. Developing a simple platform for most of these actions that can be adapted for different kinds of devices is extremely important today.
It is something that can improve people’s lives making them easier, and increase brand loyalty in the process because it gives control to the people that can have all the necessary tools at their disposal whenever they need on their own device (mobile, tablet, or laptop).
2. Diversified Offering
A brand that can offer diversified environments to its clients would have an important edge over the competition. Because coworking are mostly about flexibility and having a more fluid professional life, the idea of offering a diversified portfolio within the same wider location could be a winning one.
Yes, branding is important, as are image and services consistency. But, why not create different offerings in different locations within one city? This solution, while harder to achieve, can be an incentive for clients to try different locations, as well as a way for the owners to test various solutions at the same time and see what works best.
For instance, a specific location could be characterised to host events, or include a restaurant, or larger bar to favour more informal activities, networking, and presentations, while another could be more focused on offices and more “traditional” work routines. In a way, each space would be developed more efficiently to achieve a limited number of functions.
Also, a similar concept brings me to the next point…
3. Following the career
Brand loyalty and customers retention are also achieved nowadays through the idea of developing spaces for professionals in different moments of their careers.
Technology and our varied ways of life have created distinct separations in the ways in which different generations approach work and technology. So, more and more brands, in several industries are creating diversified portfolios to cater to different audiences.
4. Hospitality and Coworking
This one brings further the concept of hybrid space. New York-based Grzywinski+Pons has developed a hybrid Hotel and Coworking space in a London 13-storey building featuring regular bedrooms, as well as a dedicated coworking space for guests, a coffee shop, and meeting rooms.
In this range, hospitality in different locations is intended to cater to both short and long stays.
*Buckle Street Co-Working and Hotel, Source: Grzywinski+Pons
5. Niche Communities
Like it happens for co-living, common interests and professional activities can be powerful incentives for people to pick one working place over another.
Brands in shared living bring a vision and a strong identity. A coworking space can do it too, providing something unique for a specific audience of professionals that can add value to their activity as no other does. While this strategy can be riskier than others, it could also pay off handsomely in the long run.
A working space dedicated to a niche audience means not only providing it with a certain range of dedicated equipment but also taking advantage of “an existing” network. People working in the same industry will be more likely to bond, find common interests, and help each other, with potentially similar needs and requests.
This kind of coworking space can give back to the people the power of creating communities, which will likely be even stronger, instead of leaving this task to the property managers.
6. Corporate Coworking
Turns out it is not just small companies that are downsizing. But large ones, and corporations too. An article by andcards reports quotes from different high-profile representatives working in this space. In particular one from Greg Rozdeba, President of Dundas Life, who said:
“Due to the pandemic's uncertainty and the explosive real estate market, a coworking space would suit corporations. As an owner, you should prepare your workspace, keeping corporations in mind rather than freelancers. This change in clientele would mean an increased sense of privacy for corporations.”
Long-term leases of large, flexible spaces, and open to alteration as well, are definitely becoming an important variable for coworkings.
Finally, the wider trend involving sustainability needs to be mentioned as it is changing the industry design and architecture aspects positively.
This is, of course, a topic that is dear to us and we treat very often in our blog. So, we investigated it in coworking in more detail in our article How to Design a Sustainable Shared Workspace.