Co-working spaces are taking over the world. Literally.
The idea of modern co-working began as a digital concept in Berlin in the 1990’s, with the first physical co-working space opening in San Francisco by a frustrated, self-employed programmer in 2005. Last year there were 7,800 co-working spaces, used by approximated 510,000 co-workers, worldwide. By 2020, it is projected that there will be 26,000 spaces that will be occupied by 3.8 million members.
So, what’s sparking the co-working craze? There are many benefits to working in this environment including maximizing productivity, creating work/life balance, and the incomparable access to networking and collaboration with other organizations. But, it takes something special to inspire someone to voluntarily take off their pajamas and work in an office every day.
The amount of competition in the co-working industry is keeping providers on their toes, and inspiring a creativity revolution. Co-working spaces offer the office essentials—wifi, conference spaces, audio/visual capabilities, and an official address to list on your business card. But, in order to attract and retain tenants, some are going above and beyond. Standard fare has come to include kegerators in the kitchens, billiards tables, bike storage, showers, and regular tenant education, networking and appreciation events. Other spaces go so far as to include desks steps from the ocean, spas, or full rock walls.
And, it is not just designated co-working spaces that are offering this kind of collaborative environment. In response to this demand, privately-owned office spaces are being renovated to create open kitchens, communal tables and collaboration spaces for their employees to use.
Though co-working is currently thought of as an alternative for entrepreneurs and tech professionals, as the success of co-working becomes more apparent industries from across the spectrum are beginning to take notice. Co-working spaces are starting to emerge for medical professionals, construction workers, as incubators for Fortune 100 companies, and new groups are working every day to figure out how they capitalize on this trend.
Co-working spaces are generally thought of as a source of inspiration for their tenants, but they have also emerged as a challenge What started as a solution for unproductiveness for individuals has expanded to be a major influencer in how we think about the modern office. And for workers across the globe, the future is looking bright.