In 2020, coworking – like many industries – was hit hard by the pandemic. Recently, the industry has bounced back. In fact, coworking is taking off (again) worldwide.
Coworking boom underway
As people start returning to the office in larger numbers, the coworking industry is seeing a larger uptick than expected. In 2021, new coworking spaces increased by 158%.
The coworking industry is expected to recover to its pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021 and should see significant growth over the next few years.
Worldwide, the coworking industry is worth US$8 billion. This figure is expected to jump to US$13 billion by 2025 because of the changing ways businesses are managing their offices and workspaces.
Three reasons coworking is taking off
The popularity of coworking has been on the rise for a decade. What began as a popular alternative for with freelancers and entrepreneurs gained recognition with businesses of all sizes.
Like many other industries, coworking was hit by the pandemic and the associated need for social distancing.
Today, coworking businesses are again starting to boom. With strict safety protocols in place, they’re offering individual workers and businesses an ideal way to meet modern workspace needs.
1. What modern workers want
The pandemic changed the way people think about workspaces. Some surveys suggest that more than 80% of people don’t want to return to a traditional office space after experiencing the flexibility of remote working.
A survey in the US showed that 39% of workers would rather quit their jobs than return to the same rigid office environment they worked in before the pandemic.
Modern workers have realised that the increased flexibility and autonomy that comes from working remotely leads to a better work-life balance, particularly the lack of lengthy commutes.
2. Transition to hybrid work models
The pandemic accelerated trends that were already underway. The digital age, the gig economy, digital transformation…none of these concepts are new.
However, the pandemic pushed the global business world to adapt, almost overnight. It forced even the most conservative of businesses to recognise that:
- modern technology has eliminated the need for many employees to be physically at the office
- for individuals, it’s not only possible but in many ways preferable to work remotely – at least some of the time
- traditional office space can be an unnecessary financial drain on businesses
- a remaining value of office space is in facilitating face-to-face collaboration and sharing of ideas.
Now businesses worldwide are considering how best to support hybrid models. In a hybrid scenario, employees work some of the time at office premises and some of the time from home or other off-site locations.
Here’s why coworking is especially suited to hybrid workplace arrangements:
- it offers an extraordinary degree of flexibility (book office space on demand, just for when it’s needed)
- it’s more affordable than traditional office space, with shared access to a range of amenities and services (from meeting rooms to printers and kitchen facilities)
- costs can be accurately pre-determined and budgeted based on needs
- many coworking facilities are opening in towns and suburbs, making it unnecessary for people to commute long distances.
3. More cost-effective approach to office space
Hybrid work models use a combination of remote working, coworking and other flexible options like serviced offices to save on the costs of running a full-time office. Big office spaces are expensive to rent and usually need to be furnished and equipped.
Serviced office spaces come with furniture and equipment in place. Other benefits include a receptionist, business services, kitchens, parking and internet.
With many coworking spaces, memberships are valid at all branches. Employees can utilise the closest branch. This cuts out commutes and translates into better productivity and staff retention.
Coworking in South Africa at The Workspace
With our pay-as-you-grow system, you can book a workspace by the day or five-day work week. Simply book online for the number of people and hours you need, at any time. We also offer longer-term serviced office and coworking packages.
All our members have access to fibre internet; meeting rooms and boardrooms; kitchen and lounge facilities; secure parking; and a range of business services, including professional reception and copying and printing.