What changes are we going to see to the Coworking Industry in 2016? We have some ideas...
We will see more Partnerships between Landlords and Coworking Operators
Real Estate and commercial Landlords are keeping more than just a watching brief on the coworking and flexible workspace sector. Many want a piece of the action in what they see as an area where they can participate with low entry barriers. Some will go it alone but many will acknowledge that expertise is required and will partner up with an experienced operator. The benefits for operators are also clear with partnerships providing opportunities to expand without the usual risks and onerous capital investment required to launch a space.
Coworking Spaces will become more and more specialized
In efforts to differentiate themselves, small and midsize coworking operators will continue to cater for niche industries and professions. Spaces catering for creatives and specific tech industries are already the norm and the practice is also prevalent in the legal profession, as members leverage the benefits of pooling knowledge and resources. Larger operators will continue to thrive although their effect of raising awareness of the industry will benefit all.
Space Design will be more about providing choice
Increased competition will call for a more considered design and layout of coworking spaces. Workspace furniture, desk areas break out spaces and nooks will provide members with a choice depending how they want to work at a particular time. Areas will be designed to incorporate a subtle definition of what type of behaviour is required in each space. For example “the Library” will could a place for focused and uninterrupted work with private and semi-private desk space. The “Lounge” might have more relaxed furnishings indicating a willingness to be approached whilst working in the company of others and the “Trading floor” could be a hustle and bustle room where informal meetings, discussion and phone calls are the norm.
Real Estate Developers are looking to Coworking
Real estate Developers are beginning to see realize the enormous amenity value that coworking can bring to residential and mixed use developments. Coworking space will be added to other amenities such as crèche or gym spaces by way of an enhancement and marketing drives. With local and regional development plans now requiring that new developments provide for community, we are also seeing conditions in building consents and planning permissions expressly conditioning for this type of use.
Non-Office Industries will develop their own Coworking models
Industries with traditionally high set up costs will look to the coworking model in order to share these capital requirements. An example is the restaurant trade where the cost of kitchen equipment and other fixed assets which are required to operate are shared between the members. Other examples could include printing and engineering.
Large Corporates will introduce their own Internal coworking models
Larger companies and multi nationals are already curious about the benefits of coworking and how it could increase productivity within their organisations. This is being reflected in large office refurbishments comprising more coworking design elements. The main drivers will be increased productivity and reduction in costs however the successful movers will also although dovetail physical changes with a focus on community growth and culture shifts which reflect the sharing economy.
Coworking Spaces will begin to appear where you might not expect
Shopping centres, Airports, cafés gyms and other 3rd places will continue to explore the synergies that can arise when a successful coworking space in introduced into their local environment and how it can increase foot fall and in turn, compliment revenues. Larger brands will experiment with the introduction of coworking spaces as part of their own offering and brand enhancement. Landlords of multi-tenanted buildings which may have only housed traditional professions will begin to recognise the benefits of how a well run coworking operation can bring a building to life.
Traditional Business Centres will incorporate Lounge and Coworking Space
Traditional Business Centres are already dipping their toes into the coworking by allocating some of their best areas (natural light, views) to either lounge style workspace or full coworking space. The opinion of our Business centre clients is however that there will always be a demand for traditional serviced office space and that this area will remain as their primary focus, at least for the short-term but with more than just a watching brief on the coworking sector.
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