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Julie Tucker
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The rising demand for coworking spaces

Many business sectors have struggled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic – but coworking has bucked the trend and is on track to expand significantly, according to market analysts.

Despite the general gloom of the global economy, the rise in demand for coworking spaces hasn’t been dented, with research suggesting the flexible workspace industry will enjoy an annual growth rate of 21.3% from 2021 onwards.

This is largely because many businesses have been opting to place their employees in coworking environments, rather than working from home.

Coworking benefits
Businesses benefit because coworking spaces are flexible and offer easy terms for opting in or out. They provide a fast internet connection and are usually also fully-serviced, including cleaning and security services. Some offer complimentary refreshments, such as tea and coffee.

They also offer a coworking community, where employees can escape the isolation of home-working and have other like-minded colleagues around them. This type of environment inspires creativity and feeds the entrepreneurial spirit – which explains why coworking spaces have been springing up across the UK.

Home-working “isolation”
Working from home can be unstructured and less productive than you might think. A study in October 2020 by the Office for National Statistics revealed there are currently more than 4.2 million Brits working from home, yet only 12% of respondents find it more productive than being surrounded by colleagues.

One in four bosses said there had actually been a drop in employee productivity since home-working first began in March. This could have something to do with the isolation of working from home, where it’s too easy to get distracted.

Projected coworking growth
Analysts predict the number of coworking spaces worldwide will reach almost 20,000 during 2021, and around 40,000 by the end of 2024, according to the Global Coworking Growth Study 2020. An estimated five million people will be based in coworking spaces in 2024 – an increase of 158% on the current number.

These projections are based not only on the growth the coworking industry has experienced over the past few years, but also on the increasing number of businesses all over the world who are using flexible working practices.

Figures released at the Coworker Members’ Choice Awards towards the end of 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, revealed around 77% of coworking space operators planned to expand by opening new locations in the foreseeable future.

Impact of Covid-19
Amazingly, the pandemic doesn’t seem to have dented the sector’s expansion as much as one might imagine. A surprising 32% of operators say their goal is to open one new coworking location, while 38% plan to open two. This signals that many coworking spaces will turn into small chains to serve entire regions.

The average size of each coworking space is 7,308 sq. ft, with an average of 83 people working there. More corporate companies are apparently planning on embracing flexible working practices in the future, according to a survey in May 2020, when 56% of respondents said they expected to introduce flexible working, at least on a part-time basis.

Data gathered during this year’s lockdown suggests the type of coworking space most commonly requested includes private offices, longer-term contracts and spaces with a higher capacity, containing more desks. The number of requests for spaces with private offices has increased by a massive 76%.

Statistics suggest that in the post-coronavirus world, coworking will become more mainstream. Companies are starting to shift towards more flexible workforces, without the hassle and commitment of renting a whole building and the associated costs for a long period of time, to counter the uncertainty of the future. After all, nobody saw Covid-19 coming!

Find out what coworking can do for you by contacting Headspace Group today.

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