Coworking Space Trends 2021: Experts' Insights on the Future of Coworking Business
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Coworking Space Trends 2021: Experts' Insights on the Future of Coworking Business

Helga Moreno
Helga Moreno

The coworking business has been around since 2005. In recent years we have been observing rapid industry growth. Today, when the COVID-19 pandemic continues to swing the entire business world, niche influencers are making predictions as to coworking space trends 2021

Right now, we have a wonderful opportunity to learn about the future of the coworking industry and get ready to courageously burst into tomorrow.

It was predicted that in 2020 year, 1,688 coworking spaces are going to open worldwide. However, it is obvious that due to the coronavirus outbreak massive coworking spaces growth is slowing down.

The global coworking spaces market is expected to decline from $9.27 billion in 2019 and to $8.24 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -12.9%. The decline is mainly due to economic slowdown across countries owing to the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures to contain it. The market is then expected to recover and reach $11.52 billion in 2023 at CAGR of 11.8%. - Coworking Spaces Global Market Report 2020-30: COVID-19 Growth and Change by Business Wire

The industry has reached the point when it's not about quantity but quality.

Coworking business is no way about renting, it's about community and collaboration. Every coworking owner will agree that it's difficult to retain members with space design and furniture as people are coming for more.

That's why it's really vital for your coworking space to have your events schedule filled and your promotional strategies updated according to the latest coworking marketing trends. As to the flexible workspace needs in 2021, that's what we are going to figure out right now.

Coworking Space Trends 2021: Things You Need to Be Prepared for

futuristic hub

Nowadays many coworking operators experience a priorities shift. Are you one of them? What is your focus in uncertain 2021?

#1. Transform Flexible Workspace into Super Flex Office

It’s not that easy to lease an office these days. It’s just not cost-efficient for companies anymore since they are using a hybrid workforce, which means most of their employees work from home. It concerns companies operating in all business niches, including custom essay writers in a writing company. However, all those enterprises still need a workspace for employees that come to the office, for remote staff when they need to come, for team meetings, etc. 

Turn your flexible office into super flex and meet the requirements of companies using a hybrid workforce. You can easily transform your traditional amenities into something futuristic with relevant desk booking technology. Employees will use it to book desks for a day when they need to show up in the office. This way you can accommodate a company of 100 people in an office of 30, which is the essence of the super flex concept. Besides, your tenants can use the same technology to book meeting rooms or additional desks in the open space when needed.  


#2. Build Solid Coworking Brand

Impact Hub, Techspace, Green Desk, WeWork — what are you thinking of when you hear these names? I am pretty sure your first associations are "huge, luxury, brands."

If you are still in the process of building a positive brand image, I suggest prioritizing the objective now as the post-COVID market brings new opportunities to coworking space brands. A consistent brand image will help customers differentiate you from the competitors and keep the faith no matter the environment.

When people know the brand, they prefer not to experiment and choose the familiar facility wherever they go because they got used to high-quality and safety standards.


#3. "Face Control" for Prospective Community Members

What makes a coworking space unique? What is the main attraction of a coworking space? What adds sense and meaning to your premises? It's a coworking space community.

Some coworking spaces started to apply a selective approach to membership applications. They consider whether a person can become a great addition to the existing community, whether they share similar interests, whether they are ready to collaborate, take part in the events, and so on.

If you gather birds of the same feather under one roof, they are going to enjoy the company of each other more, build relationships, collaborations, and grow their businesses efficiently.

This way you are making members happy, and only happy residents attract more people, which helps you enlarge your audience, increase revenue, and scale your business.


#4. Diverse Communities & Niche-specific Spaces

Coworking spaces broaden their target audience. Apart from freelancers, startuppers, and solopreneurs, they are ready to partner with big companies who want to benefit/save some money using shared offices and neighboring other teams.

Along with the phenomenon described above, we notice that some coworking spaces claim themselves as dedicated to a certain industry niche or group of entrepreneurs.

For instance:

A field-centric coworking space is a perfect place for people of similar occupations to share ideas, collaborate, be productive, and come up with revolutionary solutions.


#5. Growing Popularity of Hybrid Coworking Models

This coworking trend of 2021 can hardly be called a new one, but it's definitely expanding. Hybrid coworkings are "drop-in" spaces that appear in hotels, stores, and restaurants.

Businessmen want to take advantage of the shared economy and earn more money. So, why not transform a restaurant into a coworking space in the daytime and back into an entertainment facility at night? Or you can combine gym and coworking to create a wellness-oriented facility.

The cost of hybrid coworking spaces is low for the members, they are free from membership fees but still can enjoy perks like free unlimited coffee and discount for lunch and specials.


#6. Coworking Club / Social Center

During the pandemic, many gifted, skillful people lost their jobs. Coworking spaces like Hatcham House, London offer them free workstations to re-group, learn something new, and continue their search for a new job. Of course, such social projects imply certain expenses, but those new members bring energy and new ideas to the community. They value their subsidized memberships and are always ready to give back in new ways.

Besides, other community members whose businesses are profitable are willing to join the program and sponsor the free memberships / hire unemployed members for ‘gig’ work to ensure that more people get help in a difficult situation. 

This activity brings real benefits in terms of relationships and helping people feel that they belong to something more than a work-space, to a work club. 


#7. Multi-location Operators & Global Membership Passes

After the final victory over Covid-19, coworking space operators will work on scaling their businesses and expanding their global reach.

According to Flexjobs, currently, 4.7 million people in the U.S. work remotely and this number continues to increase. Coworking spaces need to cover this high demand. 

Sure enough, those multi-location coworkings are going to issue international (global) membership passes to their members. This is a good practice as modern businessmen spend a lot of their time traveling. It's good to know that you will have a usual workplace providing a regular set of amenities for uninterrupted work.

Running coworking networks, you can expect increased members' loyalty as you accompany members on their business trips and include digital nomads in your audience.


#8. Touchless, Frictionless, Transactional: IoT & Automation

2021 is the year of further transformation of coworking spaces into smart dynamic areas. Coworking operators outfit their spaces with the latest technologies, new wireless devices, effective software combos, and countless integrations of their coworking space management software.

All those gadgets, technologies, synchronized calendars, and interactive dashboards must be controlled through a single unified interface. Innovations are aimed not to overwhelm residents but significantly improve and simplify their coworking experience.

The same is true for coworking software. Are you still using pen and paper, Google Sheets, whatever for meeting room/desk booking? This is ridiculous. Meeting room/desk booking in 2021 should be a fool-proof process that boils down to three quick steps:

  1. A member opens your coworking space app on their phone.
  2. Chooses time and premises/workstation.
  3. Pays with credits or card.

When a customer comes to the coworking space, they open the door with a smartphone and go straight to the workplace without any delays or direct contact with the community manager. The entire facility with its perks and services is available on a member’s smartphone, which makes their experience really seamless.  


#9. Take Care of Members' Health & Comfort

Members spend most of their days at the coworking spaces. It's quite natural that everything they touch should be quality, safety, health, and well-being centered. This is especially important in COVID-19 second wave and the post-pandemic environment when following severe hygiene rules is a must.

If you still don't have a single standing desk in your workspace, consider buying it as 70% of your competitors already provide this furniture solution.

Supplying members with ergonomic furniture is only the first step, move further, and organize yoga classes, meditation rooms, or even fully-fledged gyms. Having all these wellness amenities in one building will make your members stay there longer. Establishing bonds positively affects member retention rate and overall business income.


#10. Open Areas and Smarter Designed Spaces

In 2021 flexible workspace design will change. No more dense offices. Your open space should also be physically distanced. More workspaces will add open-air areas to their facilities. More premises will be focused on what people are looking to accomplish, like telecon rooms, project rooms, and team collaboration rooms.

The spaces will be concentrated on health and wellness even more than before, they will upgrade their air systems, monitor temperature, and air quality. They will strive to let more natural light in, adopt biophilia philosophy, and bring nature into spaces.


#11. Run Digital Marketing Campaigns

The economical crisis along with a long period of isolation and social distancing make a huge impact on coworking business promotion. Word of mouth is not the best option anymore. Moreover, big corporations are included in the updated list of target audiences for coworking brands.

You can't attract a big fish if you don't run digital marketing campaigns. Corporate clients look for workspaces for their staff online as they hire internationally and this is the most convenient way to resolve the issue.

The same works for small companies, startups, and entrepreneurs. Coronavirus changed customers' behavior patterns. To generate new leads you need to:


#12. Invent New Membership Plans

Last months showed us that almost every business and activity can be transferred online. The smartest coworking spaces started to sell virtual memberships along with physical ones as soon as they understood that COVID-19 is here to stay for a long time.

It's a good solution that gives members almost the same workspace experience. They can choose a room to work, communicate during the coffee breaks, make calls in skype rooms, attend events, have fun, feel peers' support, etc.

Though, building and maintaining a tight-knit coworking community has its nuances, so you need to train your managers well to curate the process properly.


#13. Go Green and Eco-Friendly

Green eco-friendly environments are listed among the current workspace design trends. I am pretty sure that the majority of your members/prospects share the ideas of nature preservation and environment protection. So, they will be much happier to join a coworking space performing the same social mission.

You can start with minimizing the usage of plastic at your workspace, utilize sun energy, substitute all items with those that can be recycled, and get a second life. Bring lots of living plants to reduce the stress and anxiety of members at work, encourage well-being and sustainability, refresh the air, and decorate the premises. 


What Do Workspace Experts Say about the Future of Business

futuristic building

Here I compiled some industry influencers' predictions on coworking 2020. I am quite sure it will be interesting for you to read what others think about further industry evolution.

BTW, if you have your own opinion on what a coworking space will look like and you feel like sharing it, leave your comment right under this article. I will include the best forecasts in this experts' round-up.

#1. The Pioneer Collective, US

Investor subsidized operations are going to feel pressure to turn a profit, causing upward pressure on pricing.

You’ll also see consolidation and/or shuttering of spaces that are too small, too big or poorly positioned.

~ Christoper Hoyt - Founder, COO at The Pioneer Collective

#2. Punspace, Thailand

Coworking space would be more diverse ⁠— each space has its own character and uniqueness and thus one would utilize that strengths and shape the space to be more specific to set of nomads or co-workers.

For example, one would be developed the environment to suite for programmers and those who work online all the time. All the services would accommodate lifestyles of those who sit still more. While one space would have more open spaces, integrate natural light, and fresh air to attract nomads who live their life more balances and enjoy nature and recreation activities.

Less human interactions ⁠— less staff in the space to reduce maintenance cost and be more efficient. Nomads and coworkers would book, schedule services, enjoy, and access the space online in advance and seamlessly.

I think the trend of coworking space would be very similar to other offline business that needs to adapt and change over time as we have more advanced and better technologies to integrate into business.

~ Pluert Lertsukittipongsa - Event Manager at Punspace

#3. CMPNY, Canada

While the majority coworking growth has taken place in the downtown core, the next trend would definitely be in the suburbs. Instead of traveling to a major city, suburban coworking provides all the benefits of amenities and more importantly community to your doorstep.

There is so much value in the travel time saved, not to mention no ticket fights for parking. In addition, office pricing in the suburbs comes with more affordable pricing. The need for suburban co-working spaces will continue to grow as the working trend of small businesses, entrepreneurs, and remote workers increases outside of the downtown area.

~ Pamela J Yau - Managing Director at CMPNY

#4. Make Lemonade, Canada

With the rise in mental health being a priority for large companies - offering flexible work schedules and 'work from home days' ⁠— means more coworking spaces will see a flex in members joining from a variety of industries.

~ Rachel Kelly - Founder at Make Lemonade

#5. Outpost, Bali/Cambodia

Some prediction like coworking spaces will start to add more niche offerings including office support services and sound rooms, and then bundling them to drive revenue.

~ David Abraham - Co-Founder at Outpost

#6. MY WORKSPACE, Korea

If you purchased the whole building, you may want to have everything inside — coworking, co-living, stores, gym, café, etc. You may arrange a spacious coworking with meeting rooms, lounges, open space, and so on. You can place your co-living facilities with amazing city views right above the coworking.

It's obvious for operators like me that the longer tenants stay at the space, the more things we can sell them. If I have stores in the same building I can sell snacks, office tools, scissors, paper, whatever people need all the time. It's an extra sales opportunity.

If you create something like a sauna place with a nice chill-out room, you can sell it hourly, which is extra income.

I mean, when you are starting a business you need to think properly of every single opportunity to monetize it. Read the entire interview.

~ Ron Yang - Vice President at MY WORKSPACE

#7. Hatcham House, UK

In a time of uncertainty, people are longing for belonging. They want to join things that take them out of their homes, and insecurity. We’ve tried to integrate the best parts of a community center into a professional workspace. As we approach the new year we are being asked to help other community organizations replicate this model so have created a series of resources under the ‘Hatch Local’ banner. 

What we have is a work in progress, who knows whether post-COVID members will want something different, and revert back to a conservative, traditional workspace. My hunch is that they won’t! Read the entire case study.

~ Stephen Carrick-Davies - Founder of Hatcham House project

To Conclude

Now you know what coworking space needs you must adjust to in 2021. We fear the unknown but when we have more or less accurate info of what to expect, we can fearlessly face the inevitable.

The coming years are bringing coworking space operators a lot of new challenges, yet, they reveal more opportunities for growth and maturity.

That's it for now, be cool and progressive, use coworking software, and get updates right to your inbox!

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