04 Apr 6 Coworking Trends We’re Seeing in the Workplace
The year 2005 brought with it the debut of The Colbert Report, YouTube, Xbox 360, and a couch-jumping Tom Cruise. That same year, “coworking” also had its humble beginnings: organized by Brad Neuberg, the originally termed “9-to-5 group” featured a live-work loft home to three tech professionals. Since then, the coworking phenomenon has spread quickly, with an estimated half a million people working in coworking spaces around the globe. These spaces offer a unique chance for entrepreneurs to work in a creative, open office environment; form professional and social connections with other tenants; have access to a number of amenities; and pay a much lower rent than they would for traditional office space.
The exponential growth of coworking spaces over the past decade means change is common. Best coworking space in Houston is especially on the rise because in 2016, we’ll see further refining of these spaces, making them even more attractive to the independent contractors, freelancers, moonlighters, and startups they aim to attract. We’ve zeroed in on six of the biggest coworking trends you can expect to see through the rest of 2016.
1. Expansion by Owners
Deskmag’s 2015-16 Global Coworking Survey shows that 61% of all coworking owners reported wanting to expand their spaces this year, up 2% from 2014 survey results. In late 2015, current spaces had an average of 76 members, a nearly 50% jump from two years ago. That tells us that the market has not become oversaturated by any means. Indeed, many reports show that one-third of American workers freelance — and with 53 million people now doing their own thing, there’s definitely a market for professional, affordable, single-desk coworking spaces.
2. Multiple Coworking Locations
Expansion of coworking spaces will not be limited to more spaces within a building, or even more locations throughout a given city. Several coworking providers have begun expanding to multiple cities across the nation and even internationally. As larger players in the coworking segment emerge, we’ll also see them acquire other coworking spaces and consolidate, building networks faster than ever. Having a network of various Houston office space locations also benefits members: “digital nomads” can freely wander in and out of markets, accessing coworking spaces in any city as needed.
3. New Services
In an effort to retain current members and attract new ones, coworking operators will continue to experiment with adding different types of perks, amenities, and premiums. Some ancillary offerings being tested include concierge services, administrative support, group discounts at local businesses, and a bevy of coordinated member events and networking opportunities.
4. Greater Flexibility
One important aspect for many individuals seeking desk space is flexibility. Having the choice between working in a group setting or finding a secluded affordable executive suites in Houston to focus can mean the world to many individuals, as can having access to a desk 24/7. In 2016, providers will continue to tweak space layouts and accessibility to accommodate the needs of their members.
Membership terms will also continue to become more flexible to meet demand from fledgling startups and unestablished freelancers wary of signing long-term contracts.
5. Fresher Furniture
Step into many coworking spaces these days and you’ll find that IKEA and West Elm seem to have a corner on the coworking furniture market. With more and more spaces popping up, though, the need to differentiate the look and feel from one location to another becomes more and more pressing. In addition, more members using common areas frequently means having contract furniture — commercial grade products much more durable than home furnishings — makes much more sense in the long run.
6. Optimal Space Usage
Coworking typically peaks from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If a building has additional unused space, owners are missing out on two more sales cycles each day: morning and evening. Moving toward more optimal use of space, the future of coworking will consist of mutually beneficial establishments like a coffee shop for morning business and a tap room for after-hours drinks.
Down the line, it’s not unreasonable to expect a health club, a dry cleaner, and even residences to be built around the workspace nucleus. Many operators envision coworking will become a place where members could live, work, and socialize without the hassles and expenses of commuting.