Eight Major Trends in the Coworking Industry
CoworkingResources was recently invited to talk about major trends in the coworking industry by a large national coworking chain at their annual retreat. Now, we're making our list available to everyone.
With venture capital funds pouring more and more money into the industry, independent business owners entering the market, and more technology tools serving shared workspaces, we're on the cusp of a major disruption in business real estate.
1: Real estate is becoming an on-demand experience
A great deal of companies we work with move every 18 to 24 months. Ten-year leases make less and less sense every moment. Companies are looking for fast solutions, and there is no more visible trend than real estate adapting to the needs of companies—not the other way around. Real estate is now an on-demand product.
2: Coworking isn't a joke—it’s modern facility management
Coworking has often been pegged as a lifestyle choice or a passing fad by its detractors. The opposite is true; large coworking space operators build out prime locations in cities and snag these spots away from other corporate real estate companies. The small space required of coworking locations provides a competitive edge.
3: Technology can create a five-star experience
You can’t and shouldn't want to employ a 20-person management team per location. Smart use of the right technologies avoids problems, creates a superior experience, and can cut down on overhead. More and more coworking spaces are offering their clients a high technology-enabled environment without having to cover those fixed costs themselves.
4: Corporate entities are adopting coworking
We’ve seen outposts of large corporate companies that have started working in smaller coworking spaces. But this reveals a hidden, massively important trend: When massive companies begin to plan new facilities, they have started incorporating coworking as part of their core concept, as opposed to building out massive complexes. There's plenty of opportunity here.
5: Large coworking spaces can’t use the same tools
Most coworking tools have been built for spaces intended for between 20 and 200 members. If you expand to the point where you operate 10 spaces with 400 members each, for example, you'll need to rethink your existing infrastructure. Managing your members in Salesforce might make more sense, and you can’t keep your Apple Airport Express forever; at some point you'll have to upgrade to Cisco routers.
6: Coworking should not be a competition
After working among many coworking spaces in one city, it should be clear that you're not competing for the absolute best real estate or to bring in the highest number of workers. There are enough potential coworking members for everyone, especially since each space differentiates itself. Competition isn't the goal; community, however, is.
7: Technology determines how rapidly you can scale
If you're hiring a large operations team to help with every little problem, chances are you'll run into trouble scaling that model. Automate as much of your onboarding and offboarding as you can while making sure to keep the member experience high. This defines how fast you’ll be able to scale (without too many team additions).
8: You should have an engineer
Someone has to connect all the APIs, set up the IT infrastructure, make sure the space is secure and keep your own data safe. These are non-negotiable aspects of the coworking industry. Hiring an office automation engineer will take care of all of these needs and change your core team for the better.