New flexible workspaces and new workspace operators focused on niche industries are both experiencing rapid growth based on the latest data from brokers Office Freedom.
Studies have shown that there has been a 70 per cent growth in the number of new operators registering space with Office Freedom (143 in 2019 vs 84 in 2018). Niche spaces are now offering experiences such as co-living or childcare and they are opening in spaces considered to be underutilised property such as hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets.
Across Europe, Edspace in London welcomes those in education to join ‘Europe’s largest community of people changing education for good’. Village Underground in Lisbon offers an eco-friendly space for creativity and culture and is made from refurbished shipping containers and double-decker buses. OneCoWorkMarina in Barcelona offers a beachfront dream where you can literally work on the water and OCW plans to open a further 40 locations (mainly across Europe) over the next four years. Naplab in Bangkok provides a mixture of co-working and co-napping in recognition that downtime away from work is as important as work itself.
For niche spaces to succeed in today’s market they need to provide more than simple conveniences such as secure wifi, free coffee or meeting rooms by supplementing coworking spaces with unusual features and amenities. Their objectives go beyond attracting new members and look to achieve longevity through building and nurturing successful communities.
Looking at the latest Office Freedom data, it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing.
According to Coworking Resources, the global flexible workspace market is set to grow by 56 per cent between 2018 and 2022 with volumes growing from 16,599 spaces in 2018 to predicted 25,968 spaces in 2022. As the market expands there is increased competition which naturally means that attracting and retaining new customers is paramount. It’s this desire to stay competitive and thrive that’s fuelling the expansion of niche spaces for certain business types e.g. health, tech, music, legal, film.
In the first six months of 2019, Office Freedom added 898 spaces to its portfolio, more than double that of the same period last year.