The appropriately dubbed ‘coworking revolution’ has rapidly grown over the last few years and has now reached record levels according to Office Freedom, a global flexible workspace brokerage.
The number of coworking spaces worldwide in 2018 was 16,599 and it’s on track to reach 18,287 by the end of 2019. The rate of year on year growth has slowed somewhat to 9.5 per cent compared to 15.2 per cent in 2018, but last year saw 2,188 new space openings, a record number.
New space openings in 2019 are forecast to drop by around 22 per cent compared with 2018. Many operators are now focusing on increasing occupancy and profitability rather than large wholesale expansion. Although the rate of growth overall has slowed there has been a trend in growth per capita in less populated countries and states (e.g. Luxembourg, Singapore, and Ireland) where demand for coworking globally remains strong.
The year before, saw a shift in market trends with more corporate clients looking for flex space. Research indicates that up to 40 per cent of individuals working within flexible spaces are part of larger organisations and this is predicted to grow to 60 per cent by 2022. Consequently, shifts towards more hybrid spaces and offering private space as well as traditional coworking are predicted by industry experts.
The latest forecasts suggest global flexible spaces will soon cross the 20,000 mark and look set to reach 25,968 by 2022. This represents 56 per cent growth in 2018 and reflects an average increase of more than 2,500 new spaces every year since 2015.
Richard Smith, CEO, Office Freedom said, “today’s flexible workspace provides a habitat that supports staff wellness, staff welfare, helping companies become happy and productive places of work.
“The market continues to evolve and thrive. By 2030 up to 30 per cent of office space occupied by the corporate sector is expected to be flexible. We predict greater investment leading to more consolidation from large scale providers, with smaller independents carving out niche sectors and sustainable business communities.
“Aside from market investment, a recent global industry study of 15,000 businesspeople highlighted a material power shift towards employees who are demanding more flexibility. Two-thirds of new space openings globally are new businesses entering the market the remainder are established operators, large chains and franchises. Therefore, whilst the established space operators are thriving, most new space openings are coming from businesses entering the market for the first time. Last year Office Freedom recorded a 32 per cent increase in new operators in Central London.”