Coworking, what can we expect in 2016?
Last year, we saw the coworking movement gain popularity, attract investors and make headlines in the press. We also noticed how the general public became more familiar with the concept. Bearing this in mind, we're going to analyse the possible trends for the coming year and the impact they could have on coworking spaces and communities.
- Mobility, digital nomads, coworkation ...
Whether you work for Facebook, or are a humble freelancer just starting off, a coworkation could be for you. More and more spaces are making room for digital nomads, offering one-off programs for coworkers to shake up their routine and try out a new space-all in the name of productivity! Typically people imagine a beachside resort with their laptop in the sand and a cocktail in hand, but it’s not just just seaside retreats that are up for grabs, coworkers now have various options, like retreats in the countryside of Serbia, to winter getaways in the Alps.
As a testament to the increasingly popularity of working remotely, coworkers from all over the world will be traveling to Bali, for the second Asian coworking unconference taking place at digital nomad hub, Hubud in February 2016.
- Specialization, niches, …
In 2015, we saw a surge in the number of spaces for specific communities, such as makers, female entrepreneurs, chefs, hackers, etc. This trend will no doubt continue to gain ground in 2016 as the coworking model keeps expanding and the freelance movement grows. One of the challenges that specialisation faces is the combination of the potential that niche communities have and being able to interact with external communities. One way of promoting interaction is through events, which are increasingly frequent: 60% of coworking spaces that took the coworking survey plan to organise more events this year. In general, some very subject-specific communities have started to form in cities, including music lovers, developers or sketchers.
- Corporate coworking
2015 was a big year for the business side of coworking. While some larger companies have been ahead of the of the rest in terms of realizing the benefits of coworking, it has only been recently that corporations, even those more traditional ones like banks, are starting to seriously take the coworking route.
Last October, the premier Social Workplace conference took place in London, exploring a wealth of content and insight dedicated to the changing workplace. Bringing together major influencers from the coworking, real estate and corporate worlds, this annual event seeks to understand how community based workplaces can help the traditional business sector change-for the better.
Coworking has greatly improved our work lives over the past ten years, giving professionals an open and affordable environment that meets their needs. In fact, the movement has seen some much recent success, that space founders and entrepreneurs are now opening co-living spaces. Much like office space, there is a growing demand for affordable living space, especially in urban areas.
Last year, coworking giants, We Work was busy working on the launch of their very own co-living spaces. This trend could be game changer in the way that we inhabit densely populated areas in the near future.
Deskmag's annual coworking survey, which was presented during the last Coworking Europe conference, revealed an increase in spaces' growth plans, which went from 21% in 2013-2014 and is expected to reach 27% for 2015-2016. This data shows that the movement is strengthening its position and spaces are looking to make their communities grow. There are also more opportunities for the coworking community to meet up. In 2016, in addition to well-established events, like Coworking Europe and GCUC USA, some new conferences have also been added to the coworking calendar, such as the first ever GCUC Brazil or the second Coworking Africa Conference.
- Neighborhood revitalisation
Coworking spaces are sources of dynamic activity that enrich the neighbourhoods where they are found. The professional communities, events, courses and workshops held in coworking spaces all help add value to the urban fabric of the area where they're found. Coliving models are emerging and are sure to start expanding in the coming years. Coworking spaces' growth in neighbourhoods will help reduce commute times, bring local communities closer together and make the urban fabric of the residential areas where they're located much more diverse. The multifunctional nature of coworking spaces, as well as the way they cut commutes and promote relationships provide a response for any 21st century city.
These are some of the concepts that will take centre stage in the world of coworking in the coming years, alongside many others that already exist or will come into being as part of a movement that has proven to be very active and flexible.
Main photo source: Jesse Bowser
The impact of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures that are being implemented until a vaccine or cure is discovered are having an impact on many businesses from two angles. On one hand, many are experiencing a lack of income due to closure and on the other, they are having to adjust their business models to adapt to the new transitional phase that is already happening in many countries.
With big cities becoming increasingly expensive and technology enabling people to work remotely with ease, many people see small and medium cities and towns as the solution to the work/life balance conundrum. It’s likely that, in the next decade, we’ll witness a migration of skilled professionals from big cities to medium-size one. Will Covid-19 accelerate this trend?
Although the benefits are numerous, our collective experience has also given visibility to the problems of telecommuting. Under lockdown, many of us are having to juggle work with childcare and homeschooling. Even under normal circumstances, maintaining any semblance of work-life balance can be a challenge. Of course, when looking at the pros and cons of working from home it’s important to remember that the experience is different for everyone, and it only really works if the employer has a comprehensive remote working policy in place. Is there a middle ground?
A post-COVID-19 society could require workspaces to go the extra mile to ensure that they provide quality ventilation and tighten up their hygiene practices. Here are ideas to improve hygiene and air quality in your coworking and flexible office space.
Coworking spaces have always had to find innovative ways to drive revenue while ensuring the success of their members. Our industry is known for being versatile, dynamic and creative. In other words: with the right approach and support, we will get through this!
Coworking Unconference Asia 2020: CUAsia 5-day long conference bringing together the region's investors, operators and community. CUAsia 2020, highlights and review.