As we attempt to navigate through the uncharted landscapes of the digital age, we are entering new territory yet again. Currently, it’s estimated that more than a million people are headed toward a coworking space, not an office, when they leave home in the morning.
Coworking spaces provide a shared community environment for members of the digital freelancing world or other self-employed individuals, such as authors or artists. However, some larger companies are also using coworking spaces to house staff members these days. In many cases, it’s the easier and more affordable option. It also provides networking opportunities that might not exist otherwise.
For the everyday self-employed worker, coworking spaces provide more amenities than a coffee shop and offer the potential for more social interaction than one would have at home by themselves.
As the digital age continues to lead more and more people to work for themselves and be independent of location, the need for more coworking spaces will continue to rise. Experts are predicting that by 2020, a few trends will be evident.
Researchers from large corporations are always interested in learning about the most efficient ways to increase production, morale, and satisfaction in the workplace. Coworking spaces involve various groups and individuals working toward separate goals within the same space, which allows for an interesting research environment. It also allows for collaborative efforts between individuals, startup teams, and innovative researchers from larger companies. The results will likely benefit everyone involved and could lead to an entirely different mindset about the workplace.
It’s estimated that there are more than 18,900 coworking spaces worldwide in 2018. That number has continued to go up each year as more companies realize how great of a demand there is. Coworking spaces are especially popular in foreign countries that are popular among western digital nomads, such as Thailand, Indonesia, and India. However, more spaces are also needed in the middle market of the United States, and a great deal of expansion is likely there.
For example, coworking spaces were hard to come by in Arlington, TX, until recently, when NuvoDesk opened a 20,000-square-foot location there. Now, people in Arlington will have more options for how they carry out a day’s work.
States like Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan are all seeing big coworking companies expand into their cities. There is such a high demand that some companies are even planning multiple locations within the same area. According to data from Forbes, experts are predicting that up to 50 percent of the workforce will be self-employed freelancers by the year 2020. Many of those people will be using coworking spaces, and that isn’t even including the employees of larger companies that will be moved from offices into these spaces.
The decent quality of life and low cost of living is another reason that companies and freelancers alike will be eyeing the Midwest in the coming years. The coasts are becoming too expensive for many people, which means the Midwest can expect to see plenty of growth before long.
Another popular trend will likely be that coworking spaces will become more niche. There are already quite a few niche coworking spaces that exist today. Some are designed for people who work in law. Others were created for female entrepreneurs who prefer to work in a space for women only. There are even coworking spaces for people who work in industries related to the great outdoors. As you can see, the possibilities are pretty limitless here, and since different people prefer different work environments, it’s safe to say that the demand for these various niches will continue to rise in the coming years.
Niche coworking spaces are about more than simply working around like-minded folks. Depending on the industry, there may be a real physical need for them. Many types of technology, such as IoT, require a great deal of product testing. People are using coworking spaces for more than just computer work now, which means they will need to be designed accordingly. We can expect to see a rise in coworking spaces specifically designed for various types of physical assets and the exploring and testing that goes along with them.
If one thing is clear when examining the development of our economy, technology, and working styles over the past couple of decades, it’s that things can change very fast. As the interest in alternative styles of work continues to grow, more companies will rise to meet the demand.