Co-working spaces may have been a new idea a few years ago, but this work concept has certainly taken off in the last little while. The term refers to a shared workplace, where individuals who are employed by different companies can work in the same space.
The concept began to grow in popularity as a response to the rising number of people working from home. With all of the capabilities of our latest technologies and a desire to decrease travel time, many employees have been given the opportunity to work from locations closer to home as opposed to making the trip into work every day. These locations include spaces such as personal offices, coffee shops and now co-working spaces. The result has allowed many workers to avoid extra time, travel and costs that build up going into work every day of the week.
If there is a need for workers to speak directly to their employers or co-workers, there is a wide range of communication applications for employees to use. These can be beneficial for quick chats, full meetings and passing ideas back and forth without having to come into the office.
When it comes to the growth of the co-working space concept, it seems the idea is preferred by many. It has been estimated that by the year 2020, 50% of workers will be working from a location other than their main office. By the end of 2018, there could be more than 35,000 co-working spaces to visit, in a response to the growing demand.
To get a better idea of where this concept is going, the following explains 8 of the big co-working space trends to watch for this year:
When co-working spaces first started to become popular, the only real issue was that there wasn’t enough space for everyone. Now that people are recognizing the potential for an investment like this, we’ll start to see a dramatic increase in the number of facilities available. Floor plans will likely be much bigger, and spaces will start to take over full buildings as opposed to a few rooms or floors.
This will be a necessary move, since it can be difficult to gauge just how many people will be seeking a space like this on any given day. Many co-working spaces offer monthly memberships, but also have daily offers for people who are just passing through. In order to serve the fluctuating numbers of workers, increasing the amount of spaces available will be necessary.
When this new idea for an office space started, some of the options weren’t exactly top-of-the-line. Some spaces offered desks, chairs and an internet connection, but that was about it. It would take some time to figure out exactly what people were looking for in an open space, and what kinds of things would prove to be unnecessary. As more and more spaces have popped up, establishments have been doing their best to stay one ahead of their competition. This means offering more services and better quality all-around, so people will choose their space over others.
With that being said, in 2018, prepare to see a growing trend in office spaces that are much more convenient and assistive. Co-working spaces will have a focus on better quality office supplies, including quality ink cartridges for free use, stronger internet connections, more efficient use of spaces and even food prep areas. All of this is in an attempt to create a fully-integrated location where workers can get everything they need without ever leaving the office.
BIG COMPANIES JOINING
It didn’t take long for larger businesses to recognize the potential of these co-working spaces. Many corporations employ people who work remotely, which began to bring these spaces to their attention early on. While co-working spaces were originally created with small businesses and freelancers in mind, nowadays, all kinds of companies are taking advantage.
One of the reasons that bigger companies have joined in on the concept is because of the value of having cross-functional teams. Employees can meet in these neutral spaces to discuss work concepts even when they’re not in the office, and there is also the potential to locate other talents and hires in these spaces.
Employers can use the private meeting rooms for these collaborations, or they can use a common area where others might be able to offer their input. The accessibility for all kinds of minds to work on a project is an opportunity many companies don’t want to pass up. In 2017, big names such as Facebook, Cisco and IBM started implementing co-working spaces, and this year we’ll continue to see more big names using them as well.
FOCUS ON HEALTH
The idea of a co-working space isn’t just offering a place where people can get work done. In fact, there are all kinds of benefits to using these spaces, especially for those who work from home or who feel isolated in their place of work. Those who work remotely can sometimes go days without talking to other employees or people, and the effects of isolation in the workplace can become incredibly frustrating and upsetting.
The co-working option gives people a reason to head outside on any given day, and it also provides the opportunity to help individuals feel more connected socially. Common rooms in these spaces are ideal for those searching for connections, and the open opportunity to work together increases the potential for workers to socialize, improve their mood and get their minds working in a different way than they’re used to.
There has been a huge focus on the health of workers in the past few years, and, as a result, many companies have strived towards creating friendlier, more social work spaces. Google was one of the first companies to make a huge change in their office layout design, offering brainstorming rooms, game rooms and fully-functional kitchens to improve both the mood of workers and their productivity as well.
With an added emphasis on the physical and mental health of today’s workers, co-working spaces are becoming a great solution. Some locations even offer rooms for meditation and yoga to help individuals cope with anxiety and stress. This year, we will continue to see more spaces putting a focus on the idea of “community,” and finding new ways to help workers truly enjoy a day’s work.
The year 2018 will no doubt see more technological advancements across all fields, which includes co-working spaces. In the beginning, the technology integrated into these spaces mainly focused on offering quality internet access, but now technology is making its way further into these establishments.
Individuals who sign up to visit a local co-working space might see keyless door access, real-time access, online payment options and other advancements that make the process more convenient and streamlined.
High-end spaces are also likely to offer high-tech printers with quality ink and toner, fax machines and high-demand copiers, as well as private meeting rooms that integrate drop-down screens, wireless projectors, surround-sound systems and even Skype booths.
As the demand for co-working spaces grows in 2018, so too does the demand for spaces that are efficiently designed for best productivity. As a result, we’re going to see more of these spacing ideas.
Some of the best co-working spaces around the world highlight the use of natural lighting, lush foliage and earthy tones that help workers feel more calm and focused. Architecture will embrace higher ceilings, bigger floor plans and cozier spaces, which will help to move away from the office cubicle mindset.
Especially noticeable in many of the most popular spaces is the use of the color green, both as a wall color and in decorative plants. The color of your office should reflect the type of work you do and the type of personality you have; however, as a general rule, integrating shades of green help with productivity during long work hours and also encourage calmness and efficiency.
Spaces that are commonly used for co-working usually include old buildings for rent that are close to the downtown area. This ensures that the buildings are easily accessible to everyone, and that they’re closely located to other amenities. This year, workers can expect to see these offices in much more unique and unsuspecting places in response to the growing demand for more locations.
As mentioned, a lot of larger companies are recognizing the value in spaces like these and are beginning to invest their own money into larger spaces of their own. It’s been reported that Verizon is making plans to convert 150 buildings across New York, Boston, D.C. and Philadelphia into co-working spaces, and many more will surely start investing this year. Smaller businesses that only run during the evenings, such as pubs and clubs, are also considering having a dual-purpose space that runs offices by day and entertainment at night.
Of course, in 2018 we will continue to see more co-working offices popping up in heavy pedestrian areas and in popular downtown cores that offer a lot of nearby amenities. We may also see some new apartments and high rises offering a few floors for remote workers, as well as recreational facilities and gyms.
Not only are co-working locations a great benefit to workers, but they also pose great potential for buildings with empty spaces and businesses looking for more traffic.
While spaces for co-working are ideal for encouraging team building, brainstorming and community, not all workers are looking for that kind of environment. For many people, the goal of attending a co-working space is to find some peace and quiet while they get their work done.
It is possible for workers to rent monthly offices for a quieter, more private atmosphere, but the prices of these options are fairly expensive in comparison to using the communal rooms. If renting an office space isn’t possible, workers may be able to search out niche spaces, which are specific to their type of work.
These niche spaces are another trend to watch out for in 2018, as a means of providing specific types of workers and jobs with the right environment. Even as more co-working spaces are available, there may not be an atmosphere that suits the needs of a quiet worker, or someone who needs to brainstorm with like-minded individuals.
To serve the needs of these workers, niche spaces are starting to trend. These spaces work to appeal to specific needs and preferences and are ideal for people who are not interested in joining a traditional space for co-working. For example, a writer may be looking for a quiet space, a female may be seeking a women-oriented office or perhaps a group is looking for a place where they can work in a laboratory.
As more workers’ needs become prevalent, it is predicted that the demand for niche-specific spaces will grow as well.
In 2007, there were only 14 co-working spaces reported to be in business; by 2010 that number had reached 436. It is expected that by 2022 there will be more than 30,000 working spaces for people to use, in response to the growing number of people working remotely.
If you’re considering buying a membership to a co-working space, it’s a good idea to know what you can expect in terms of budget. Fortunately, prices have remained fairly steady, which is surprising considering the growing demand. For a one-month membership with a flexible desk (any available desk in the space), you can expect to pay somewhere around $195 USD. For a permanent desk that you can visit anytime you please, you’re paying somewhere around $380 USD per month.
For those who are usually buying at least one drink and meal at a local coffee shop, these monthly fees are much better options. Not to mention, many spaces offer free tea and coffee, so it’s a win-win situation. Keep in mind, for spaces that offer more perks (yoga classes, open 24/7, keyless access, etc.), you can expect to pay more.
Depending on what you need in your office space, it may be nice to splurge a little extra for the included kitchenette and high-speed internet, especially if you’re going to be far more productive than you would be at the office or at home.