Modern coworking began in 2005 when the concept was “invented” by Brad Neuburg, an American senior software engineer. Then again, one can argue that we have always been comfortable working with other people in a shared space, being the social creatures that we are.
It is no surprise that the use and need for coworking spaces have been significantly growing over the past decade. Today, we will highlight just that一the trends that will mold the future of coworking in ways we cannot even imagine as the concept (and industry) develops further.
Coworking spaces, just like any environment, need an ecosystem to thrive. Entrepreneur.com even refers to the leaders of this industry as “ecosystem builders.” However, being fully artificial, these ecosystems currently need space managers (a.k.a. community managers) to ensure that everything operates smoothly.
Here are just some of the key responsibilities of space managers:
The primary responsibility of a space manager is to ensure that the coworking space is clean and that all the equipment is working. He also has to make sure the inventory is well-stocked and all the tasks required to make amenities available without disruption are taken care of.
It is one thing to keep track and manage meetings for a single company. It’s an entirely different scenario when you’re juggling multiple companies at a time within a limited space.
Space managers conduct meeting management like art. They make sure that rooms are not double-booked, the technology needed is prepared, and that schedules are followed to avoid unnecessary delays.
Of course, the tasks of a space manager go beyond just the space itself. More importantly, they are in charge of engaging their members, ensuring that all issues are addressed and that everyone within the community is happy, contented, healthy, and safe.
Finally, space managers must also come up with networking initiatives, local partnerships, and social events. The goal is not just to increase member engagement and satisfaction but also to attract new sign-ups. Such events are all the more crucial during off-peak months.
Yes, they are. Therefore, it’s no wonder that the first emerging trend involves the rise of online platforms. These will make coworking management as automated or self-operated as possible.
Here’s the deal, though. You don’t need a space manager to show you the ropes inside your office, right? So, it is certainly possible to reach a point where space managers will no longer be required to be on-site every day.
The combined use of meeting management software and access cards can allow members into their required rooms during their scheduled time. New members can sign-up online and create all appointments via a booking and attendance system.
In turn, automated invoices, time trackers, and other systems integrated with artificial intelligence will be the new normal. We’re not saying that there will come a time where space managers will be phased out. Although, we firmly believe that their jobs will significantly get a lot easier as more advanced technologies emerge.
Are you an owner of a coworking space establishment? If you are, you will be pleased to learn that there will be more ways to grow your business in the future.
Recent statistics report that five million people will rely on coworking spaces as their primary base of operation by 2024. There has been an increase of 158% in coworking space use since 2020 alone, and experts don’t see the demand slowing down anytime soon.
WeWork, one of the pioneers in the industry, has 800 locations in more than a hundred cities globally. With that in mind, is it really too farfetched to think that the average number of owned spaces by a coworking space owner will grow in the future?
Despite our frequent penchant for change, humans are actually routinary creatures. According to Psychology Today, there might be links between our repetitive behavior, language development, and role-taking. Basically, even nomadic workers would want a semblance of order by switching locations but still sticking with the same company that they have gotten used to.
The answer is potential. Business owners who run coworking space establishments currently have limitless potential. The more locations you open, the better.
For instance, one owner can expand to 10 similar spaces in a city. As a result, this will give your members more room to move around. What’s more, it will allow you to accommodate nomadic workers who thrive best when changing locations incessantly.
Speaking of multiple locations, we are also looking at a future of really flexible coworking spaces. Gone are the days when office sophistication is the only aesthetic considered for coworking space design.
After all, as demand grows, so does the variety of target demographics that coworking spaces would want to tap into. We’re not referring to the typical small business owner anymore. We are talking about students, stay-at-home moms, digital nomads, tech geniuses, and the list goes on.
As such, we are looking at the evolution of coworking spaces in the nearest future. We believe that the coworking spaces should at least consider integrating the following spaces into their existing establishment:
Every company needs a clinic to provide the basic healthcare needs of their employees. What more would dozens of individual companies sharing a space? Unfortunately, not all coworking spaces have a clinic, especially pre-pandemic days.
Hence, we’re sure it will eventually be a given amenity moving forward. In fact, the future where there will be coworking spaces that specialize in providing space and services to medical establishments may not be too far off.
If there’s one thing that this health crisis has taught us, it is that there is a pressing necessity to change the workspace ecosystem. There is a growing need for diverse workspaces that accommodate beyond just the average office needs.
Health, enjoyment, convenience一these are factors that need to be closely considered moving forward. Thus, we are expecting a significant increase in sports rooms within coworking spaces. This includes fitness gyms, indoor and outdoor courts, and even swimming pools!
Where there’s a gym, there’s probably going to be a spa nearby. After all, there’s nothing like a relaxing massage after a workout. More importantly, relaxation centers are essential if we ever want to achieve any victory against work-related mental health issues.
Because work shouldn’t interfere with familial duties, we believe there will be a rise in daycare facilities within coworking spaces. After all, almost 90% of families with children have at least one parent employed, according to this recent report of the U.S. Department of Labor.
One of the charms of coworking spaces is that they are not like conventional offices. They also don’t try to be. Hence, you can expect more facilities to have open spaces in the future. As an added bonus, this space design is more conducive to creativity and collaboration.
According to Forbes, the open workspaces of coworking establishments can help increase the quantity and quality of ideas that companies need to succeed. The same goes for outdoor gardens, which allow people to work within a more natural environment as opposed to a confined corporate setting. Forget about bringing nature in through indoor plants when you could just entice workers to work outside.
As mentioned, we might be looking at a future with coworking spaces specifically dedicated to medical professionals. This is actually just a manifestation of one emerging trend—the rise of niche-specific spaces.
We’re starting to see more of these spaces recently. Instead of all-encompassing workspaces designed to cater to workers from all walks of life, we now see coworking spaces exclusively for females, coders, developers, writers, artists, and more.
We understand why most coworking space owners feel adamant about exploring niche spaces, thinking that doing so will limit their reach. Nonetheless, allow us to share with you a couple of benefits that these special establishments provide in case you want to explore this emerging trend:
There are a lot of sectors with unique needs that multipurpose spaces simply can’t provide. For example, working moms need spaces that provide childcare services. Meanwhile, writers usually need printing services.
While we’re not saying it’s not possible to create a community of diverse professionals, nothing will replace the bond of like-minded people. There are a lot of workers who seek to work this way—surrounded by their peers, potential business partners, and even competition.
Here’s a pro tip: Those thinking of building more niche-specific spaces as their business expands can refer to their existing members for ideas, especially if it’s within the same geographic location. What type of workers are they? Do most of them belong to a particular industry?
You may also want to look into the industrial culture of the community you belong to. For instance, Paris is known for its artists, while Silicon Valley is the mecca of tech professionals. Lastly, you can also ask yourself, what category of professionals do you want to serve next?
Again, more and more coworking establishments now offer outdoor spaces, such as gardens and gazebos, to bring workers closer to nature. Not all have this privilege of available space, though. Many coworking establishments would have to manage to be in buildings with no balcony, rooftops, or patios.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to bring nature closer to your work area. In fact, you can expect to see more of such design efforts in the future. Here are just a few ideas on how to allow your members to commune better with nature:
Windows will bring a lot of natural light in and even improve your members’ health. Sure, they will need to be more diligent in applying sunscreen. However, it will also help boost their vitamin D levels, which, according to studies, improve sleep, decrease anxiety, and even lower the risk of breast cancer.
When we think about nature, we always seem to gravitate towards greenery. What about the soothing sound and colors of water? From aquarium-style walls to artificial waterfalls, you can expect more water-based design elements in coworking spaces soon.
Finally, we encourage you to move past just the aesthetics. Instead, you can focus on the core values of environmentalism. You might want to consider using renewable sources of energy and heating. Restrict single-use items like disposable cups. Rather, you can support like-minded businesses by providing rewards and discounts.
The era of coworking spaces is just beginning. Don’t get left behind. You can actively stay on top of recent industry developments by doing your research. For your reference, here is a quick summary of these emerging trends:
Of course, it is important to take note that these trends will vary depending on your location. As such, you will need to adapt to the current needs of your community as well. The trends we shared are merely guided points on how you can potentially steer your company towards the future.
The article was written by Uday Tank. Uday is a serial entrepreneur and content marketing leader. He is the founder of Rankwisely.com SEO Agency. He has a wide variety of interests and enjoys writing, including marketing, productivity, business, health, diversity, and management. You can connect with him here.