Coworking, a relatively new term coined in the past decade, has grown into a very effective business model for many commercial property investors. The flexible workspace industry offers both landlords and tenants the opportunity to meet their work and investment requirements with spaces that have normally been underused.

When coworking first became popularized by freelancers, many industry leaders frowned on the idea and felt that it wouldn’t see the growth some projected. Then, small business startups, corporations and other business owners looking for affordable office space saw flexible workspaces as an opportunity to save money and grow their businesses. Over the course of five years, the industry grew at an astronomical rate and coworking spaces began to appear everywhere. And why not? Commutes could become shorter, large corporations could lease coworking spaces for field employees and the increase in small business startups could have a professional space to meet clients and brainstorm new ideas.

In 2017, almost 80% of coworking spaces also offer private offices. Although this becomes an added cost to the tenants, the demand is still growing. Industry experts believe this is a result of the idea that coworking means an open workspace. Although true in 2006, where layouts were primarily open space, the industry has evolved and will continue to grow in 2018.

Who Uses Coworking Spaces?  

Coworking spaces used to be the domain of freelance designers and programmers. Now, commercial flexible space investors are seeing that change and their makeup of audiences today being 20% freelancers, 47% small business and 12% mobile corporate users.

Steve King, partner at Emergent Research – a consulting firm focused on the small business sector of the US and global economy, stated “When coworking started, it was a movement predominantly around freelancers. Then around 2009 startups found coworking because they realized that signing a long-term lease didn’t make sense, and coworking fit right in. Much of the recent growth has been in corporate mobile users, and five years from now, I’d be surprised if they didn’t make up 35% of the coworking population. Small businesses (non-tech) are starting to move that way, but at a much slower pace.”

With coworking spaces making it possible for freelancers, small business owners and others to find the flexible office space they need for work, creativity and increased productivity, the trend towards commercial property owners to create more flexible-use spaces will continue to grow throughout 2018.

What do you think about the growing coworking space trend? Leave us a comment below and let us know.