As per the 2017 Global Coworking Survey, more than 1.1 million individuals worked in 13,800+ coworking spaces worldwide, wherein they brought their groundbreaking ideas and pioneering projects to the table for purposes of innovation. Coworking memberships have witnessed steady and escalating growth since the inception of the idea more than a decade ago. However, with the evolution of work modules and the proliferation of coworking as a close-knit community, we can expect massive trends of change in the coworking realm of the near future. As we continue to nurture, mold, and transform this brave new world of working alone together, here is a tentative idea of the future of coworking.
1. Steady expansion of national players; Undertaking of market limelight
Global conglomerates made headlines in 2017 with plans to expand and relocate into adjacent cities. Key national names in coworking, along with those that are gradually emerging in the market limelight, will be aiming at planting multiple locations within one city or country. This growth is cent percent justified and backed by statistics: millennials are said to make up 75% of the coworking workforce by 2030, as this generation prefers open, flexible, and productive work formats. Millennials, coupled with their Gen Z successors have begun chasing their own brand of entrepreneurial pursuits, hence we can expect an increase in the demand for coworking spaces, which is bound to revolutionize the concept of office spaces.
Quality of life and the importance of work-life balance has also surged in India and the Midwest, wherein the cost-effective yet high-quality amenities proffered by coworking has benefitted countless local businesses, especially startups. Due to these reasons, the potential market size of coworking across India alone is expected to be 13.5 million users by 2023, as per a 2018 research report by JLL India, a real estate consultant. Moreover, a Knight Frank Report states that the number of digital nomads, freelancers, and expats will rise exponentially across domains such as recruiting and advertising.
2. A keen focus on industry-specific efforts, especially in the startup community
With the establishment of coworking as a viable business model, we can gear ourselves for the next possible phase: immense and meaningful profitability. Coworking started off as a lucrative opportunity for ambitious software startups, gaining popularity due to its amenities in the form of lightning-fast WiFi, 24×7 access, endless streams of coffee, and more. However, with growing demands for ergonomic office spaces and a community framework, industry-specific coworking support is bound to emerge as a dire need in the startup community.
To support this view, Statista predicts that the Internet of Things (IoT) retail market will exceed $11 billion by 2025, adding roughly $5 trillion to the global GDP. Hence, for entrepreneurs aiming to bring the IoT technology to the mainstream, a dedicated space for building and testing hardware will not be optional. The same is applicable for food and agri-tech industries, as they also require physical assets and scope for product testing. Resultantly, a new generation of shared offices will emerge to cater to these niche needs.
3. Reinforced ties with corporate innovation groups looking for next-level R&D
As coworking provides a bouquet of benefits, the future of coworking will feature startups and corporate innovation teams working side-by-side. Corporate innovation groups possess the intellectual freedom that startups enjoy most of the time, along with the resources of an established enterprise. Coworking spaces will offer them with an atmosphere of innovation, along with a site for collaboration with other professionals, which will facilitate out-of-the-box creative formulations. This will also grant these groups with a competitive edge in terms of R&D, which in turn, can be leveraged upon to bring about spectacular results.
As the world undergoes multiple metamorphoses in the realm of talent, technology, work modules, and base-level ideas, the coworking landscape is bound to change as well. As coworking attracts artistic and entrepreneurial visionaries, these individuals will undoubtedly foster great and lasting cycles of progress.