By the end of 2024, 5 million people will be working from coworking spaces, a whopping increase of 158% from 2020!
And now that businesses are resuming operations after coming to a standstill due to the formidable COVID-19 impact, we are pretty optimistic about these numbers.
However, what we also expect in the year 2022 is to see coworking spaces in a new avatar.
After all, one of the greatest strengths of coworking spaces has been their incredibly dynamic nature. That has played a pivotal role in empowering this sector to constantly evolve and adapt; embracing various technological, social, and economic trends to befit the needs of its growing population of coworkers.
So what coworking space trends are we fixating on this year?
5 Coworking Trends That Are On Our Radar In 2022
1. Real Estate Players Venture Into The Coworking Market
Coworking is underway slow but steady disruption of traditional office models.
For traditional office landlords, coworking serves as a two-way business model extension.
First, some traditional office landlords deploy service-based strategies inspired by the coworking sectors for their tenants. And second, traditional office landlords are entering the coworking fray by leasing their vacant office spaces to coworking space solution providers.
Moreover, although not a new concept, more and more landlords and coworking operators are moving away from the traditional lease model to alternative cost-sharing arrangements.
More like a joint venture agreement, this strategic partnership offers an opportunity for more favorable economic incentives to both parties.
The operator receives more capital upfront than a traditional tenant, which can be utilized in renovation and build-outs. On the other hand, the building owner receives a sizable share of profits in exchange for their funding.
Above all, we see the signs of transition from office space owner to coworking space operator.
The altering role of office post-pandemic, readily available tech stacks to streamline coworking operations, high rates of business closures, and other coworking trends are orchestrating a big-time pivot for landlords and enabling them to run their own coworking spaces.
That said, the existing coworking space operators that see this disruptive innovation as a threat might fail to ride the tide. Instead, they must take this opportunity to differentiate their space from the rest.
2. More Flexibility Sets In
If a coworking space doesn’t offer flexibility, it isn’t a coworking space.
Before 2022, the flexibility of coworking space manifested itself in lease terms, the amount of space you choose to take up, workstation types, etc.
In 2022, however, we anticipate even more dynamic flexibility in terms of location.
First, let’s talk about one of the newest and most exciting coworking space trends- the mobile coworking space.
As you might guess from the name, these are generally buses or trailers remodeled into coworking pods-on-wheels. Fully equipped with wi-fi, plug points, printers, coffee machine, bathrooms, and other facilities, these coworking spaces are empowering the coworkers who like to travel while working. One of the first of this kind of coworking space, NOVA pod, furnishes an incredible illustration of this model.
Moving forward on similar lines, we also expect the concept of satellite coworking space to gain momentum in 2022.
Although WFH worked really well in the past couple of years and is still necessary at times, feelings of distraction and isolation have already been stockpiled. Organizations are having a hard time keeping their employees focused and productive.
Satellite coworking spaces are offering a viable solution to these problems. With this approach, companies downsize their headquarters and allocate coworking spaces to their teams in locations closer to where they live without expanding to multiple cities.
Likewise, many coworking operators are eying this trend to build customer loyalty by making their services accessible across multiple locations.
Lastly, the hybrid coworking initiative is taking coworking by storm. Like the French multinational hotel chains, AccorHotels, leading hospitality companies are anticipated to partner with coworking brands to offer high-end hotel-based collaborative spaces to traveling professionals.
It’s likely that we get to see more coworking players innovate similarly progressive and customer-centric solutions and serve the needs of millennial clients to a greater extent.
3. Sustainability Takes Center Stage
Sustainability-driven workspaces that reduce carbon footprint are rapidly becoming a norm.
Coworking spaces definitely have the potential to take sustainability a notch higher because of their inherent trait of sharing resources and limiting wastefulness.
With upsurging concerns around sustainability and eco-conscious lifestyle, coworking operators will be reconfiguring their spaces to uplift their sustainability credentials.
Here’s what will catch on:
- Green rooftop.
- Strict waste management.
- Recycled office furniture.
- Indoor vertical gardens.
- Renewable energy from solar panels.
- Motion sensors for lighting for less frequently used spots.
- Recyclable components and materials from sustainable sources.
- Well-lit areas with as much natural light as possible and minimal artificial lights.
- Alliance with nonprofits to make an impact.
- Networking events to encourage members to integrate social responsibility into their work.
4. Mental And Physical Wellness Should Be The Focus
Workplace stress is real and raging.
But the millennial workforce wants to feel productive and challenged without getting overwhelmed.
Plus, the pandemic has served as the basis for the recent recommendations for high standards of coworking spaces’ safety, hygiene, and wellness.
Naturally, in 2022, coworking operators are recognizing the growing need to offer their tenants the next-best and safest alternative to their homes. In addressing the demands of a wellness workplace, coworking spaces are gradually blurring the lines between coworking and wellness centers.
One can expect operators to consolidate their offerings with sleeping pods, Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, dance, Pilates, aromatherapy, and mindfulness sessions to make their tenants feel cared for.
Moreover, operators are embracing the positive impact of biophilic design elements on the physical and mental well-being, creativity, and productivity of coworkers and blending oodles of plant works in their coworking office designs.
5. Efficient Technology: The More, The Better
With new coworking spaces appearing on the map, entrepreneurs have more expansive choices. And with remote and hybrid work becoming mainstream, a comfortable space to attend zoom calls is just not enough for them.
Hence, 2022 is the year of a complete metamorphosis of coworking spaces into tech-enabled offices. It is estimated that most coworking spaces will draw on management software to boost clients’ experience and add a competitive edge. Also, the trend of using automation tools for remote management of coworking spaces is in play in 2022.
Coworking operators’ efforts to enhance the workplace efficiency of their clients will lead them to stock their coworking spaces with:
- AV solutions
- Smart devices
- Smart access
- Virtual assistants
- Wireless charging stations
- Management software
- Interactive dashboards
- Meetings and presentation technology
- Real-time security monitoring
- AI-powered ambiance and temperature control
In 2022, we’re about to witness an accelerated and dramatic transformation in the coworking industry. These changes would become the standard expectations of modern-day coworkers in no time. Hence, adapting to these trends would be a great way to help coworking spaces evolve in the future of work.
About the Guest author
Aanya Rachel is the Content Manager at The Address, a coworking space in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge, experience, and extensive research in this field. She writes on a wide range of topics related to coworking, the growth of remote workers, startups, and real estate.