Coworking space is growing fast and the global inventory is set to surpass 18,000 by the end of 2019.
But while much of the growth in recent years has been driven by the big players in the industry, there is strong participation from smaller, independent operators.
“Two-thirds of new space openings globally are new businesses entering the market the remainder are established operators, large chains and franchises,” says Richard Smith, founder and CEO of Office Freedom, a global firm which helps connect tenants and coworking spaces. “Therefore, whilst the established space operators are thriving, most new space openings are coming from businesses entering the market for the first time.
Smith says that there are changes ahead in the market, including a slowdown in the growth of new space as existing operators focus on increasing occupancy and profitability.
“We predict greater investment leading to more consolidation from large scale providers, with smaller independents carving out niche sectors and sustainable business communities,” he said. “Rate trends will continue to vary by location with certain markets witnessing a short-term dip in rates due to over-supply.”
Flexible working increasing
The overall trend though is upwards as more people and businesses adopt flexible working practices.
“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,” Smith said. “In the survey, 50% of employees are working outside of their main HQ for at least 2.5 days a week; 85% said that productivity has increased as a result of greater flexibility and 80% of employees stated that, given two similar employment offers, they would turn down the one that didn’t offer flexible working.”
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