The coworking industry has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, transforming the way people work and collaborate. With its flexible and community-driven environment, coworking spaces have become an attractive alternative to traditional office settings. However, as the industry continues to evolve, it is crucial for coworking operators to understand the evolving needs and desires of their members.
To shed light on this aspect, a comprehensive research study was conducted in partnership with andcards, the Ukrainian Coworking Association, Nat Coworking, and CBRE of Ukraine. The objective of the survey was twofold: to assess the state of the coworking market during a full-scale war in Ukraine and to analyze the emerging trends in this rapidly evolving industry.
The research study, conducted from February to April 2023, involved the participation of 40 Ukrainian operators and owners of coworking spaces, along with 630 members representing a diverse range of 12 business sectors. The study encompassed a broad geographical scope, with 12 cities in Ukraine participating in the research, including Kyiv, Lviv, Uzhhorod, Irpin, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk, Khmelnytskyi, Ternopil, Kremenchuk, Kropyvnytskyi, Odesa, and Chernivtsi.
The findings of this research are expected to provide invaluable insights for coworking operators worldwide, offering a deeper understanding of what members truly desire from their coworking spaces. By uncovering the perspectives and preferences of coworking space users, operators can enhance their offerings, improve member satisfaction, and adapt their strategies to meet the evolving needs of this dynamic industry.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the minds of coworking space members, revealing the research findings that can shape the future of the coworking industry.
When it comes to deciding to continue or start working in a coworking space, several factors play a significant role. Our research has shed light on the key considerations of coworking members, providing valuable insights into their preferences. One standout finding reveals that 28% of coworking members prioritize the opportunity for communication and collaboration within the coworking community. This statistic underscores the vital role that the community plays in the decision-making process for individuals and teams seeking a flexible work environment.
The presence of a vibrant community and a collaborative atmosphere is one of the defining characteristics of coworking spaces. It serves as a crucial factor, particularly for individual entrepreneurs and smaller teams consisting of up to 20 people, who actively seek synergy and knowledge exchange. The survey results clearly demonstrate that this factor holds significant weight in their choice of a coworking space.
Additionally, the research highlights other factors that influence the decision-making process. The availability of shelter and stable internet/electricity is of utmost importance, with 45% of respondents considering it a critical consideration. This emphasizes the essential need for reliable infrastructure to support productivity and uninterrupted work in a coworking environment.
Furthermore, 18% of respondents value the provision of discounts, indicating the significance of cost savings in their decision to opt for a coworking space. Flexibility regarding members' needs is also a notable consideration, with 14% of respondents emphasizing its importance. This underscores the importance of customizable workspace solutions that cater to individual preferences and requirements.
The service level and location of the coworking space are vital aspects for 22% of respondents. This suggests that factors such as quality amenities, professional support, and convenient access to transportation and amenities greatly influence their choice.
Interestingly, the reduction of administrative costs is a decisive factor for only 9% of respondents. This indicates that this advantage holds greater relevance for larger teams exceeding 21 people and medium/large companies.
Speaking about Ukrainian coworking spaces, one sector stands out as the dominant user: the IT industry. A staggering 58% of tenant companies operating in coworking spaces belong to the IT and technology sector. This finding underscores the significant presence of tech-related companies in the coworking landscape, highlighting the sector's strong affinity for flexible work environments.
While the IT sector takes the lead, other industries also find representation within coworking spaces. Marketing companies account for 19% of tenant companies, demonstrating their recognition of the benefits that coworking spaces offer for creative and strategic work. Public sector and government institutions make up 11% of tenant companies, indicating their growing inclination towards flexible work arrangements.
Non-profit and civic organizations, along with business services, each contribute 12% and 11%, respectively, showcasing their embrace of the coworking model to foster collaboration and cost-effective operations. Other sectors, such as logistics, FMCG, banking and finance, HR, retail and trade, agriculture and farming, and healthcare and pharmaceuticals, also find their place within coworking spaces, each representing a varying percentage of the tenant companies.
When selecting a coworking work format, members consider several factors, with community and collaboration taking center stage. A significant 35.7% of members prioritize the presence of a supportive community and opportunities for collaboration when making their choice. This finding underscores the crucial role that social interactions and collective synergy play in the coworking experience.
The coworking model is renowned for fostering a sense of community, where professionals from various backgrounds can connect, network, and collaborate. The survey results affirm the high value placed on these interactions, indicating a strong desire among members to engage with like-minded individuals, exchange ideas, and cultivate meaningful professional relationships.
Rent cost also holds significant weight in the decision-making process, with 25.2% of members considering it a crucial factor. Coworking spaces often offer flexible membership options, allowing members to choose from various pricing plans that suit their budget and needs. The ability to access a professional workspace without the financial burden of long-term leases is an attractive proposition for many individuals and small businesses.
The flexibility of rental agreements is another important consideration for 13.9% of members. The ability to adapt rental agreements to match evolving business requirements provides a level of agility and freedom that traditional office formats may lack. Coworking spaces offer flexible terms, allowing members to scale up or downsize their workspace as needed, accommodating changing team sizes and project demands.
While other factors contribute to the decision-making process, accounting for 17.4% of member considerations, the reduction in administrative personnel expenses compared to a traditional office format ranks at 7.8%. This highlights that while cost savings are significant, they may not be the primary driving factor for most members when choosing a coworking work format.
Within the vibrant coworking community, a significant portion of members find themselves working in small teams, comprising 2-10 individuals. This statistic highlights the strength and prevalence of small team dynamics within coworking spaces, with 32% of members falling into this category.
Small teams often benefit from the collaborative and flexible environment provided by coworking spaces. With the ability to share resources, brainstorm ideas, and foster strong interpersonal connections, these teams thrive in the coworking ecosystem.
Additionally, the survey reveals that 26% of members identify as self-employed professionals, freelancers, or individuals working independently. This indicates the appeal of coworking spaces for those seeking a supportive and productive work environment outside of traditional office settings.
The distribution of team sizes in coworking spaces is diverse, with 17% of members belonging to teams ranging from 11-20 people, and 15% comprising teams of 21-50 people. These findings demonstrate that coworking spaces cater to a wide range of team sizes, accommodating the needs of both small and medium-sized businesses.
Larger organizations also find their place within coworking spaces, with 2% of members belonging to teams of 51-100 people and 1% being part of teams exceeding 100 individuals. These organizations recognize the benefits of coworking, such as increased flexibility, access to amenities, and the opportunity for networking and collaboration.
When it comes to coworking administrators, members expect more than just basic administrative functions. They look for individuals who can serve as supportive assistants with strong interpersonal skills. According to the majority of respondents, the speed of work and responsiveness, along with the ability to establish rapport with members, are crucial factors in their evaluation of administrators.
A significant 32.3% of members prioritize the speed of work and responsiveness from administrators. They value administrators who can swiftly address their needs, promptly respond to inquiries, and efficiently resolve any issues that may arise.
Additionally, the ability to find common ground and establish rapport is highly valued, with 31.9% of members considering it an important factor. Coworking administrators who can create a welcoming and inclusive environment, understand member preferences, and foster positive relationships contribute to the overall satisfaction and sense of community within the workspace.
Furthermore, 22.7% of members appreciate administrators who possess a high level of organizational skills. Effective task management, attention to detail, and the ability to keep operations running smoothly are attributes that members value in their administrators.
Multitasking capabilities are also recognized by 10.2% of members as a valuable skillset for administrators. Given the diverse and often fast-paced nature of coworking spaces, administrators who can juggle multiple responsibilities and effectively prioritize tasks contribute to a well-functioning and efficient workspace.
In the vibrant coworking community, fostering interaction and collaboration among members is a key priority. According to a survey of members, comprising 58% of individual entrepreneurs or teams of up to 10 people, there is a strong desire to improve the opportunities for connection and engagement within the coworking space.
A significant 50% of members expressed their interest in enhancing events, team-building activities, and parties. These social gatherings play a vital role in building relationships, fostering collaboration, and creating a sense of community among coworkers. Members seek dynamic and well-organized events that facilitate networking, knowledge sharing, and the formation of meaningful connections.
Additionally, 25% of members emphasized the importance of improving coffee and food offerings within coworking spaces. A well-stocked and inviting café area can enhance the overall experience for members, providing a comfortable space for informal meetings, networking, and relaxation.
Infrastructure improvement, including meeting rooms and engineering systems, was also a priority for 25% of members. Access to well-equipped meeting spaces, reliable technology, and efficient engineering systems contribute to a productive work environment and facilitate successful collaboration.
Furthermore, 14% of members highlighted the significance of enhancing the overall service level provided by coworking spaces. This includes attentive and responsive staff, efficient administrative support, and a welcoming atmosphere that fosters member satisfaction.
For 9% of members, the availability of sports training within coworking spaces emerged as an area of interest. Incorporating fitness facilities or organizing fitness classes can promote well-being, work-life balance, and a sense of community among members.
Finally, 4% of members expressed their desire to have the option to invite guests to the coworking space. This feature can facilitate collaboration with external partners, clients, or potential new members, contributing to a more diverse and dynamic coworking environment.
The findings from this unprecedented research provide valuable insights into the preferences and needs of coworking space members. From the importance of community and collaboration to the desire for enhanced events and infrastructure, these findings shed light on the factors that contribute to a thriving coworking environment.
If you're eager to delve deeper into the minds of coworking space members and gain a comprehensive understanding of the Ukrainian coworking landscape during the war, I invite you to fill in this form and get the full survey right in your inbox.