Work Environment

With 14 411 spaces worldwide – Is Coworking becoming the new normal?

Coworking Office Space

Coworking spaces are shared office spaces, that are typically used by the self-employed or those working for various different companies, and are soaring in popularity the world over. “So much so,” says Linda Trim, Director at workplace design specialists Giant Leap, “that working in a coworking space is rapidly becoming the new normal even for those who have traditional 9 to 5 jobs.”

Trim noted that there are currently 14 411 coworking spaces around the world today making it the fastest growing type of commercial property. Globally, shared workspaces have grown at a rapid rate of 200% over the past five years. In global cities like London, New York and Chicago they are expanding at an annual rate of 20%.

“Coworking places are rapidly becoming the workplace of choice. Globally they are expected to be close to 4 million  people who will be members of a coworking office by 2020 and that number is expected to rise to over 5 million by 2022.”

Coworking in Sandton: FutureSpace Office

Trim added that in South Africa the trend is not as developed as it is in countries like the US, but is quickly catching on. “In major business nodes like Sandton for example, coworking places are springing up all over. For instance, FutureSpace is a high-end coworking space that is as appealing as WeWork, the hugely successful American coworking company that has offices in 21 countries.”

Coworking became an attractive concept because when it first started to appear, it countered the negative views of the traditional office of drab interiors with tired people spending their lives in cubicles under harsh neon lights. “If we look back to just a few years ago, coworking was considered to be a movement or a trend, with many believing it would fade. But now coworking is a full-blown industry that is disrupting the real estate industry and the way people work. 

Coworking is known for offering environments that are conducive to innovation, collaboration, and productivity. These type of workplaces were pioneers in implementing a human approach to design, a trend which is catching up with real estate developers, landlords and of course companies.

For now, Coworking is Today’s Normal

The extent to which coworking has gone mainstream is evidenced in the fact that large companies are increasingly seeking to enhance the workplace experience as a means to attract and retain talent, and that a significant percentage of workers who have the option to work from home or a coffee shop prefer to work from a coworking space.

According to Trim, “By 2020, we expect 50% of large companies to have some form of shared office space to offer their workers.”

She also noted that coworking spaces were having a very positive impact on people. 84% of people who use coworking spaces are more engaged and motivated while 89% who cowork report being happier.

“The coworking phenomenon has also spurred companies to make their existing office’s much more people friendly and relaxed,“ Trim noted. “On many of our briefs now we are told to design something that makes people feel they are in a relaxed environment somewhere between a coffee bar and their lounge at home.” She added that the growth in coworking spaces will likely remain strong with a forecasted growth rate of 15% over the next 5 years.

FutureSpace is a joint venture between Investec Property and workplace specialists Giant Leap, which offers high-end shared working, office on-demand space in Sandton. Visit their website or contact them on (010) 300 600 for more information.


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