This article is a guest post from Brad Free
Whether you’re self employed or work in a traditional office space, there’s a chance your next office will be at a coworking space.
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The rising trend
According to Allwork, coworking is the ‘new normal’. Freelancers and traditional companies alike are starting to realize the immense benefits of working in a common space where people from different fields and walks of life can socialize, exchange ideas, and generally be more productive as a result.
According to different data points, there are currently over 14,000 coworking spaces in the world today. A GCUC article predicts that the number will increase to 30,500 spaces by 2022. The same article went on to say that this coworking trend is being adopted across the world with increasing momentum, with major cities in Asia leading the charge. According to GCUC, Asia has quickly become the largest market for coworking in the world today.
What’s behind the trend?
It’s hard to tell. The desire to freelance in coworking spaces could be a result of the fact that humans are social animals who need company. It could also be a result of an attempt to strike a balance between the old and the new. Working in an office and from home both have their distinct pros and cons. Coworking spaces give many people the best of both worlds.
This view is supported by the study that was conducted by the Michigan Ross School of Business. It revealed that people liked working in a place where those around them were from different fields and industries. The ability to meet new people may also be a strong motivator.
To many people, coworking spaces satisfy their desire to be around people who are working like them without any ulterior motives, without being constrained by a hierarchy or dealing with workplace politics and drama.
Flexibility seems to be another significant factor in the rising trend of coworking spaces. In this new office, they can work on a contract basis, do more than 1 job at a time and come and go from work as they wish. According to OfficeVibe, 70% of the people tested like to work outside of normal office hours. That means that the traditional office is catering to 30% of the people.
Many respondents also gravitate towards coworking spaces due to the modern facilities compared to their cramped cubicle or disorganized home offices. Like a cutting edge gym, more and more coworking spaces are focused on creating ergonomic workstations with good lighting, standing desks, and even recreational rooms.
It’s interesting to note that the benefits of coworking spaces are already being realised as companies like IBM and Barclays have jumped on the bandwagon and are testing out the new trend. They’ve realised that it has a ton of potential and want to see how it works for them.
Is it just a fad?
That’s something we have to wait and see, though it doesn’t seem to be. Coworking space as a term may change in the future, though the shared economy seems be doubling down on the trend of sharing working spaces in one form or another.