The last few years have seen coworking firmly establish itself as a practical, cost-effective solution to traditional office environments. Coworking is no longer an emerging trend; it’s now proven that it’s here to stay.
With this in mind, we turn an eye to the future, and consider what may lie in store for the coworking industry.
Coworking Continues to Innovate
With the basic framework and core features of framework now solidly cemented in peoples’ minds, 2017 saw a growing number of innovative companies looking to add their own, unique spins on the coworking formula. Most notable of these was the New York base Spacious, who hit upon the idea of transforming, closed, after hours restaurant space into prime coworking space.
In the coming years, expect to see many more companies offering their own variations on the flexible office space model – whether it’s taking over and transforming disused and empty spaces or spaces tailored to specific industries. After all, we’ve already seen coworking spaces dedicated specifically to robotics, biotech, and even cookery.
Outlasting the Coworking Bubble
In recent years, coworking’s rapid rise has led to a growing chorus of rumbles that this success may be short-lived. Last year, one expert even went as far as claiming that the coworking start-up We Work, which had just been valued at a staggering $16 billion, was the most overvalued company in the world.
These dissenting voices warned that coworking could be experiencing a bubble, similar to the dot.com bubble of the early 2000s – and that a burst was imminent. In the end, no such bubble occurred, and the naysayers and doom-mongers moved their attention on from coworking to Bitcoin. Coworking looks to be as strong as it’s ever been, and it seems as if the only way for it is up.
Is Coworking the Future of Work?
For some, coworking doesn’t just have a bright future – it is the future. With some estimates claiming that automation could take over 47% of all jobs by the year 2034, and the gig economy turning an increasing number of us into our own bosses, the way that we work is changing drastically – and coworking could well offer a practical and innovative solution.
After all, a recent study by the Harvard Business Review found that co-workers were more likely to view their projects as meaningful and fulfilling, while their positive impact on our wellbeing and productivity have also been observed.
Could the flexibility, collaborative nature and individual freedom that coworking fosters make it the ideal solution to some of the most real and pressing questions about the future of work? Only time will tell, but the early signs are nothing if not promising.
Coworking has come a long way since its early days as a quirky experiment seldom found outside of the companies of Silicon Valley or coworking spaces in Shoreditch. Now that it has demonstrated its long-term potential, its future looks set to be as innovative, and as rewarding to co-workers themselves, as its past.