This month we’ve been traveling around Asia bringing the juicy goodness to over 1000 of our newest friends. As we visit spaces and people all over the world, in a mission to inspire, we gather a lot of knowledge along the way. We’re often asked to make predictions for the year to come. We felt we saw some larger over arching trends so we’ve compiled four Megatrends we think we will see for the coworking industry in 2018 and beyond…
With over 50% percent of the population working independently by 2020, the demand for alternative workspace will continue to thrive. At GCUC, we’ve been talking about corporations entering the market since 2012. It’s 2017 and they are here… Mic drop. Seriously, Facebook, IBM, HSB, E&Y, Cisco – 15% of the SP 500 have entered the coworking world.
GCUC just completed a Coworking forecast with Emergent Research and can report that there are currently 14,411 Coworking spaces in the world today. If you are wondering about Coworkings reach you might be shocked to learn there spaces in Siberia and Mongolia.
Brands will continue to consolidate and raise big money (see Workbar, Naked Hub, Bond Collective, Convene, Wing and UR Work). Just you wait, it’s about to get interesting with more brands adding in coliving, coffee shops, retail and build to suit arrangements. We’re also seeing commercial real estate, hotels and malls embracing Coworking.
WeWork will continue to open spaces at a dizzying rate with a seemingly endless supply of money. They’re pivoting away from small businesses and tech start-ups to larger corporations. Since the beginning of GCUC, we’ve conjectured that the only brand that should be afraid of Wework is Regus, which holds true today. Regus’ bread and butter is corporates. It will be interesting to see how WeWork navigates the community, as they attract a more mature corporate clients that aren’t impressed with their beer kegs and ping pong tables.
We are also seeing a myriad of offerings ….from gyms, to schools, partnerships and living arrangements. Wework is losing focus on the original workspace vision and may see some failures as they continue to add a wide range of services. We have to admit the rumored acquisition of Meetup is sorta brilliant.
Their aggressive marketing measures directly targeting their competitors is a bit troubling. Offering 6 months rent free on a 2 year lease is under cutting the shared workspace market and causing waves for the rest of the industry. Let’s not forget about them parking their branded busses (and free food) right in front of their competitors doors. How very un “CO” of them.
WeWork does a lot of work to romance the broker community however, in our opinion, it’s not in line with their end vision. We predict Wework will actually disrupt the real estate world further by cutting out the brokers (and their large commission checks) and going directly to the corporations.
Scarcity of Resources
Real Estate developers realize they need need coworking in their developments however, they’re not finding enough operators that are willing, and able to scale. Some savvy REIT’s will enter with their own brand, like Ascendas Sainbridge in Singapore. They are one of the first large scale entries into the market with their Bridge product. Coworking operators will start to receive RFP’s as the market grows and evolves.
Community managers are the glue that holds a space together. Community managers often do everything from manage the day to day operations, to providing tours, managing events, posting social media, sending contracts and hosting the space. They are difficult to find, train, retain, and not burn out. With that being said, they are in great demand and hard to retain past the 1 year mark.
Scarcity leads to opportunity, we expect to see coworking recruiters as well as staffing services emerge along with more consulting services.
Contrary to popular belief, your time is not your most valuable asset -your health is. Without your health, you don’t have have any time to spend. We believe that the biggest trend you’ll see in 2018 is a focus on health and overall wellness. We’re not just talking about hosting yoga classes in your space, we’re talking about physical, AND perhaps more importantly mental health.
We have an epidemic of loneliness, one in four of us are lonely. Loneliness greatly impacts our physical bodies and minds leading to a frailty associated with old age. More recently, the former surgeon general recently in HBR pointed out:
“At work, loneliness reduces task performance, limits creativity and impairs other aspects of executive function such as reasoning and decision making. For our health and our work, it is imperative that we address the loneliness epidemic quickly.” – Vivek H Murthy
Working from home can be isolating, therefore sending people home to work alone is not the solution. Coworking can provide the connection and community that people need (and are desperately searching for) in our society. That smartphone that is making you “more connected” is also making you feel disconnected by removing daily face to face interactions. If the opposite of addiction is connection, then the opposite of loneliness is community. Coworking is the solution. We see health as a major theme for years to come, more so than the other Megatrends we have outlined above.
The good news is that Coworking will continue to thrive, evolve and take over the world. Here’s to our health, the Megatrends of 2018 and all it has to offer.